AG Watch

Friant Dam makes room for massive runoff

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The water is blasting out of Friant Dam to try and make way for the massive amount expected to push Millerton Lake to capacity.

Michael Jackson, at the Bureau of Reclamation's Fresno office explained; "Today we increased our releases from 4 thousand cubic feet per second up to five thousand cubic feet per second because of the water supply we have now, the rains we've been getting. And the accumulating snowpack."

Jackson says it's becoming the wettest year on record. "1983 is still King of water years as far as where we are to date ... we are approaching the 1983 water scenario."

Jackson says the entire basin, which drains into the Valley river system has received 52 inches of water in the past 24 hours.

Mario Santoyo of the Friant Irrigation District says local growers are pleased. "With all this rain we've got plenty of water."

But, at the same time, after a lengthy drought, Santoyo says it's a shame to see all of this water going downstream. "It's kind of hard to see all of that go to the ocean. So that's the downside to an extremely wet year."

Growers on the East side of the Valley are getting all of their contracted allotment from the government water projects, but because of environmental demands, despite all of this water, growers on the West side are only expected to get 55 to 60 percent of their contracted supply.

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ag report, california water, ag watch, gene haagenson
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