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Real Facts on Water Supply

Fresno, Calif., (October 30, 2017) – “There’s not enough water in California.” It’s a common refrain from anti- farming activists who are using that argument to promote restrictions on agricultural water use. Although the state’s water supply is at a high level, there is no doubt that when the supply is reduced, the activists will return to their e ort to restrict water to Westlands and other agricultural districts. And they will rely on the same misinformation to make the case that California’s water supply is insu cient to provide enough water for urban, agricultural, and environmental water use.

These same activists claim that agriculture is using 80% of the state’s water resources and that as a result, policies such as land retirement, crop dictation, and groundwater restrictions need to be imposed to protect urban and environmental water use.

Westlands and other agriculture districts have pushed back against the misinformation but this false narrative continues to have an impact on the debates that shape policy-making.

For that reason, the Westlands’ public a airs sta is accelerating e orts to educate policy-makers and the public about water supply allocations. We intend to show that when our water is properly managed, the state has adequate supply to for residential, agricultural and environmental uses. While the activists want to discount a substantial amount of the water supply to arrive at a high usage number for agriculture, Westlands will be using accurate numbers that show how much water is available for all uses.

Here’s the di erence between “fake news” and reality: the Water Agency Inc. reports that between October 1, 2016 and August 6, 2017, the water supply and allocation system experienced the following:

  • 52,102,700AF of water owed into the Delta and was available for the environment, residential, and agricultural use
  • 2,247,400AF (which equals 3% of the Delta in ow) owed to Central Valley Project (CVP) contractors and 2,931,100AF (which equals 5.6% of the Delta in ow) owed to State Water Project (SWP) contractors.
  • 46,742,500AF (which equals 7% of the Delta in ow) owed to the ocean.

Contrary to the claims of the activists, and despite experiencing almost NO water delivery restrictions in 2017 because of this year’s historic hydrology, almost 90% of the water that ows into the Delta ends up in the ocean.

This is only one example of the ongoing e ort to provide a fact- based narrative to the public and decisionmakers. As a priority matter, Westlands will be educating policy-makers about the facts about agriculture and urban jobs that rely on a stable water supply.

By Johnny Amaral, Deputy General Manager of External A airs Westlands Water District

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