SAN JOAQUIN RIVER EXCHANGE CONTRACTORS’ HISTORIC RIGHTS
‘Call’ On River Supply Expected
Friant’s water supply outlook is actually worse than the official declaration, Friant Water Authority General Manager Ronald D. Jacobsma says.
The San Joaquin River Exchange Contractors — which hold historic rights to the river’s water — for the first time will almost certainly make a “call” on historic San Joaquin River water rights since Reclamation concedes it will be unable to deliver all of the Exchange Contractors’ guaranteed substitute supply of water from the Delta.
The Exchange Contractors’ initial Delta allocation from Reclamation is 40%. It has never previously gone below a contract minimum of 75%.
FRIANT ‘IN THE HOLE’
“We do not yet know when releases to the river for the Exchange Contractors may begin or how much water will ultimately be involved but it appears Friant’s Class 1 water availability for now is in the hole,” Jacobsma said.
The FWA believes Friant’s Class 1 water – which totals a maximum 800,000 acre-feet that is considered to be the project’s “firm supply” – in reality is at about a minus-30% level because of the looming Exchange Contractor obligation.
Since Friant Division deliveries of San Joaquin River water were begun through then-new Central Valley Project facilities in the mid to late 1940s, there has never been a “call” for Friant to provide the Exchange Contractors’ historic San Joaquin River water supply.
The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation is continuing to deliver the Exchange Contractors’ substitute supply through the Delta-Mendota Canal.