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Important Friant Water Authority US Bureau of Reclamation Meeting Monday Jan 6, 2020

The following is an important announcement by the Friant Water Authority.

Friant Water Authority Asks for you to Attend an Important Meeting Monday!

US Bureau of Reclamation Meeting,

Monday, Jan. 6 at 1:00 pm

Visalia Convention Center 303 E. Acequia & Bridge, Visalia, California

WHAT WE KNOW: Reclamation has begun an accounting process to “true up” what each Central Valley Project contractor either owes or is owed credit for the costs of implementing the Central Valley Project Improvement Act (CVPIA).  As all of you are aware, in 1992, Congress authorized a number of environmental actions in the CVPIA and also authorized additional collections from CVP contractors to pay for these actions.  Included was also an additional per acre-foot surcharge on all water deliveries to Friant Division Contractors (the so called “Friant Surcharge”) that was collected until the San Joaquin Restoration Program was enacted in 2009. The Friant Surcharge was in addition to all other collections levied on water contractors.  Based on Reclamation’s records, the total amount of the Friant Surcharge that was collected is roughly $120 million.  Reclamation has also used appropriated money to fund CVPIA activities and has determined that a significant amount is REIMBURSABLE to CVP contractors.  So simply put, the “true-up” is supposed to determine whether the amount collected from contractors that is owed back is less than or greater than appropriated funds that need to be repaid.    

THE BAD NEWS : The bad news is Reclamation (In Sacramento at least) has proposed that all water receipts from the CVPIA, including the Friant surcharge, be lumped together and used as a credit for all CVP water contractors.  As a result, under Reclamation’s initial proposal, there is a surplus of contributions from all water contractors over costs and no additional charges are anticipated.  Also as a result, however, Friant Division Contractors would receive no direct benefit from the $120 million paid as a result of the Friant Surcharge since that benefit is currently being allocated across all water contractors and not just Friant Division Contractors.            

NEXT STEPS: FWA has been pushing back hard on this.  In fact, we have made a number of proposals to BoR staff that offer a more equitable path forward and the protections needed for Friant Division Contractors.  FWA staff and consultants have been engaging Reclamation policy staff and the Solicitor’s Office on this matter and have requested Reclamation hold a workshop on the Friant Surcharge in Visalia to further explain its plans.  We believe this is the type of decision that we need to meet with Reclamation, accompanied by a large number of Friant representatives to further vocalize our concerns.  The meeting on Monday is the opportunity to convey and reiterate the messages delivered by FWA staff in a unified manner.

For more information, you can contact Johnny Amaral, Chief of External Affairs, Friant Water Authority.  Email: jamaral@friantwater.org

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