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Colorado River Board 4.4 Plan
Californians Use of Its Colorado River Allocation

December 17, 1997
DRAFT

Preamble

The Colorado River Board of California (CRB) agencies recognize and agree that the components of this Plan are an inseparable package and none of the components can be implemented until the final agreement is approved by all of the agencies and the Secretary of the Interior. All of the agencies agree to cooperate fully with each other, and with other agencies or governments as necessary, to secure the prompt and effective implementation of all aspects of this Plan, and to achieve as far as practicable the acceptance and implementation of the Plan within the Colorado River Basin.

Purpose

Establish the State's plan for California living within its apportionment of Colorado River water during two phases of implementation. The Plan:

Background statement

Legal Issues

There have been long-standing disagreements among the agencies within California on certain issues. Some of these issues need to be resolved by further negotiation, administrative action, litigation or legislation. Recognizing the mutual benefits of proceeding with implementation of the Plan, the agencies hope definitive resolution of these legal issues will be resolved by agreement or deferred, making resolution by other methods unnecessary. These issues include, without limitation, the following: legality of transfers; reasonable and beneficial use; wheeling arrangements; banking in Lake Mead; subordination/priorities; administration of Present Perfected Rights not included in California's Seven Party Agreement; forfeiture/abandonment based on historical average use. approval of this Plan by any party is not intended and shall not be construed as a waiver of its position on any deferred legal issue.

Phases of 4.4 Plan

The Plan will be implemented in two phases. During the first phase, which is between now and the year (2010 or 2015), programs will be implemented to reduce California's annual use of Colorado River water from about 5.2 MAF to approximately 4.6 to 4.7 MAF per year through firm and non-firm transfers. Also during the first phase, programs will be identified and staged for implementation during the second phase. the second phase will commence in the year 2011 or 2016. During the second phase, programs will be implemented to allow California to meet its Colorado River water needs from within its annual apportionment of Colorado River water, which is 4.4 MAF when neither surplus water nor apportioned but unused water are available for apportionment among the states.

Components of 4.4 Plan

First Phase - During the first phase the objective of the Plan is to continue to meet southern California's water supply needs and to keep the Colorado River Aqueduct full while programs are implemented to reduce California's demand for Colorado River water through firm water transfers, non-firm water transfers, enhanced water supply programs, and reservoir operations. Also during the first phase, additional program will be identified, investigated, and be ready for implementation during the second phase to allow California to continue to meet its Colorado River water supply needs and to keep the Colorado River Aqueduct full form within its annual apportionment, which would be 4.4 MAF in those years that conditions on the River so dictate.

Identified in the first phase of the Plan are firm water transfers, which include core transfers and recovery of seepage from the All-American and Coachella canals that provide for about 400,000 acre-feet of water being transferred from the agricultural areas to the coastal plain of southern California. In years that withdrawal of surplus water from reservoir storage begins to place undue risk on the other water users within the Colorado River Basin, California will implement non-firm water transfers such as land fallowing in Palo Verde Irrigation District (PVID), and call upon stored water made available through enhanced water supply programs to supplement the firm water transfers to meet M81 demands and assist in keeping the Colorado River Aqueduct full.

The Plan recognizes the need for California to enhance its water supply through conjunctive water use programs. Opportunities to conjunctively use ground and surface water will be explored using the Arizona Water Bank, the Coachella groundwater basin, as well as other groundwater basins near the Colorado River Aqueduct.

Furthermore the Plan recognizes the request of the Secretary of the Interior to annually provide 16,000 acre-feet of water as part of the San Luis Rey Indian Water Rights Settlement in northern San Diego County. An option to obtain the needed water for this settlement is through the All-American Canal seepage recovery program.

Several programs to administer the use of water and water entitlements must also be implemented by California and the Secretary of the Interior during the first phase. Such programs deal with accounting for transfer agreements, administration of agricultural entitlements, overrun accounting, and credit for unmeasured return-flows.

Also during the first phase in consideration for implementing California's Plan to reduce its use of Colorado River water, the Secretary of the Interior would agree to reservoir operating criteria that make surplus water available, except under severely dry hydrologic conditions, to keep the Colorado River Aqueduct full. The description of how the operation of the Colorado River reservoirs is proposed to be implemented is discussed later in this document. under the section titled "Reservoir Operations." A Conceptual Water Budget for Phase 1 of the Plan is contained in Attachment 1.


Attachment 1. CONCEPTUAL WATER BUDGET FOR THE FIRST PHASE OF CALIFORNIA 4.4 PLAN

ATTACHMENT 1

December 17, 1997

DRAFT
CONCEPTUAL WATER BUDGET FOR THE FIRST PHASE OF CALIFORNIA 4.4 PLAN
(Approximate figures)

1997
Phase 1 Completion

Water Use by California Agenciesa

Acre-Feet/Year
Acre-Feet/Year

Agricultural Agencies

Basic Entitlement

3, 850 000

3,850,000

Firm Transfers

-106,000

-400,000

Subtotal

7,744,000b

3,450,000b

Metropolitan Water District

Basic Entitlement

550,000

550,000

Firm Transfers

106,000c

400,000d

Non-Firm Transfers

0

up to 100,000

Surplus Water (when available)

594,000

200,000 to 300,000

Subtotal

1,250,000

1,250,000

Miscellaneous PPRs and Indian Federal Rights

Subtotal

32,000

50,000

===================================================================================

TOTAL

5,026,000

4,650,000 TO 4,750,000a

Sources of Additional Water

Surplus Water (When available)

274,000

25,000+

Enhanced Water Supply Programs

0

25,000+

Return Flow Credits

-100,000

0e

===========

==========

Subtotal

174,000

50,000+

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

TOTAL Demand

5,200,000

TOTAL Demand -- less than
4,600,000 to 4,700,000

a CVWD's current estimated ground water overdratft is about 170,000 acre-feet/year; the Plan will offset this through various agreements and programs
b Does not include priority 6 surplus water when available for use by the agricultural agencies.
c Includes the 1988 MWD/IID Conservation Agreement.
d Includes the 1988 MWD/IID Conservation Agreement, SDCWA/IID proposed conservation program, seepage recovery along the All-American and Coachella Canals.
e Included in the above Phase 1 consumptive use values


Firm Transfers

 

Non-firm Transfers - The Plan includes prearranged measures to periodically move water from agricultural areas to the coastal plain to help fill the Colorado River Aqueduct (e.g., land fallowing in PVID by MWD).

Enhanced Water Supply Programs

San Luis Rey Indian Water Rights Settlement

Administrative Programs

General Concept:

Priority 1 -- PVID

Priority 2 --Yuma Project Reservation Division

Priority 3 - IID, CVWD and PVID's lower mesa lands

Repayment for exceeding the 3.85 MAF limit (as reduced to reflect any transfers) occurs as follows:

Overrun Accounting - The Plan proposes a process for reconciling actual use with allotted use on an annual basis, with Lake Mead storage being used temporarily. An annual overrun by any enticement holder will be repaid by "wet water" reductions approved and scheduled by the Secretary of the Interior over the following _____ year(s). The maximum allowable accrual of an overrun is limited to percent of the entity's entitlement. Repay nent will not be required if flood control or level 1 releases occur from Lake Mead during the repayment period.

Credit for Unmeasured Retum Flows - The Plan assumes that the Secretary of the Interior will give credit for all unmeasured return flows.

Reasonable and Beneficial Use - The California agencies will cooperate with the Bureau of Reclamation and the California Department of Water

Resources in their activities to evaluate water use practices with respect to reasonable and beneficiai use. As one facet of this accord, the California agencies will defer to the judgment of the State and federal agencies with respect to reasonable and beneficial use by other agencies and will not challenge the use by the other agencies.

Reservoir Operations

Impacts to be Addressed

Second Phase

During the second phase, the programs implemented during the first phase, except any interim reservoir operating criteria, will continue to be in full force. In addition, those firm and non-firm water transfer programs that were identified, investigated, and selected during the first phase to allow California's use of Colorado River water to move clear to its "basic" annual apportionment of 4.4 MAF will be implemented.

Firm Transfers

Non-Firm Transfers

Reservoir Operations

Schedule

The implementation schedule for the various elements of the Plan is being developed. The implementation schedule for the firm transfers to be implemented during Phase 1 is contained in Attachment 3.


Attachment 2. PROPOSED LAKE MEAD RESERVOIR OPERATIONS

Phase 1 Criteria

Introduction

Water is annually released from Lake Mead in accordance with: 1) Article II of the 1964 U.S. Supreme Court Decree in Arizona v. California; 2) the 1970 Criteria for the Coordinated Long-Range Operation of the Colorado River Reservoirs promulgated pursuant to the 1968 Colorado River Basin Project Act; 3) the 1984 Field Agreement between the Army Corps of Engineers and the Bureau of Reclamation for flood control operation of Hoover Dam and Lake Mead, based upon the Army's 1978 flood control regulations (33 CRF Part 208,11); 4) the 1944 Mexican Water Treaty; and 5) water service contracts between Colorado River mainstream water users and the Secretary in accordance with the Boulder Canyon Project Act. Such releases from Lake Mead, except for flood control purposes, are to meet the downstream water delivery requirements under a surplus, normal, or shortage condition annually determined by the Secretary. The surplus, normal, and shortage condition being that more than 7.5 MAF of water, 7.5 MAF of water, or less than 7.5 MAF of water is available for apportionment among the Lower Division states, respectively.

In recent years, the Secretary has carried out his determination of the quantity of water available for apportionment among the Lower Division states on a year-to-year basis, generally, attempting to meet all beneficial Colorado River mainstream water demands within the United States as reasonably required. Present circumstances have now changed and it is important, as a component of California's Plan, to have a set of criteria which govern the operation of Lake Mead during the Phase I implementation period. The proposed release levels set forth below specifically address the surplus criteria that would be utilized by the Secretary during this period. The Secretaries compliance with other aspects of Lake Mead's operations would remain unaffected.. California will work with the Secretary and the other Basin States as these other operational matters are addressed.

A description of the proposed surplus operating criteria for the operation of Lake Mead during Phase I follows.

Proposed Lake Mead Operation - Phase I Criteria

In consideration of California's implementation of its 4.4 Plan, including the firm and non-firm transfers from the agricultural areas to the coastal plain of Southern California via the Colorado River Aqueduct pursuant to the implementation schedule identified in the Plan, the operating criteria for the Colorado River reservoirs for the Phase 1 period would provide for the following three levels of surplus water releases:

Level1 Surplus Release - A level 1 release is based upon a multiple-year spill avoidance criterion. California proposes that the level 1 release be based upon a 5-year look-ahead spill avoidance criterion. Thereby, a portion of the volume of water that would be expected to be released for flood control purposes during the succeeding five years would be made available for apportionment among the Lower Division stags.

For the level 1 surplus release, the demand for water within the Lower Basin does not govern the volume of water to be made available; rather the volume of water expected to be released for flood control purposes over the defined period of years would dictate the volume of the release. This is characterized as a limited spill avoidance strategy, when, in some years, the quantity of water made available would not necessarily be sufficient to satisfy all of the water demands of the water users within the United Stags. Under a level 1 release any apportioned, but unused water in one or two of the states, would be made available to the other states.

Level 2 Surplus Release - A level 2 surplus release would be associated with the quantity of water that is needed to keep the Colorado River Aqueduct full. No level 2 water would be made available for off-stream storage or agricultural uses that are above the agricultural entities Basic" entitlements, which would reflect a corresponding reduction in the net diversion of water available out of the 3.85 MAF limit by the amount of firm transfers.

Level 3 Surplus Release - A level 3 release would be based upon a specific set of criteria which would reflect that reservoir levels have been drawn down further than expected, but not to the extent of justifying a normal or shortage condition. A level 3 release would be associated with the quantity of water needed to keep the Colorado River Aqueduct full. No level 3 water would be made available for off stream storage or agricultural uses that are above the agricultural entities "basic" entitlements, which would reflect a corresponding reduction in the net diversion of water available out of the 3.85 MAF limit by the amount of firm and non-firm transfers. Stored water from enhanced water supply programs could be used during level 3 releases.

The above proposed reservoir operating criteria for surplus releases would be applicable during Phase I of California's 4.4 Plan.


Attachment 3. IMPLEMENTATION SCHEDULE (PHASE 1)