Operation of state water project impacts agriculture
The Thermalito Afterbay was intended to warm Feather River water for agricultural use.
What Has ANR Done?A UCCE farm advisor conducted a series of controlled field experiments to quantify the effects of low water temperature on rice productivity. In addition the advisor determined the associated region-wide impact on area rice yields and documented the seasonal water temperature profiles throughout the area's irrigation network during rice growing season. The impacts of cold water on rice production were a critical issue in the federal relicensing of the Hyatt and Thermalito Powerhouses, important features of the Oroville Reservoir Complex. Results from this UCCE study were presented to the Federal Energy Regulatory Agency, the California Department of Water Resources, the Metropolitan Water District, the State Water Contractors, the Northern California Water Association, the County Boards of Supervisors, and numerous citizens’ groups.
UC research pivotal in successful settlement negotiationIn 2008, five irrigation districts and the DWR executed a settlement agreement titled "Amendment to Agreements on Diversion of Water from the Feather River and Settlement of Issues Related to the Temperature of Water Diversions." The agreement resolves a 40-year-old issue by remediating the yield losses in rice due to low temperature water. The economic impact on the local farm economy is estimated at over $75 million over the duration the renewed license.