February 5, 2015

State Water Board Staff Moves to Block Moderate Pumping Increase

Yesterday, the State Water Resources Control Board (Water Board) rejected a proposal by the California Department of Water Resources and the U.S.  Bureau of Reclamation that would have allowed limited increases in export pumping from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta under certain conditions. The rejected plan had the support of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service.  

According to the California Farm Water Coalition, a unilateral decision was made by Tom Howard, the Water Board’s Executive Director, to “ignore the collective decision of FIVE state and federal agencies that have responsibilities for managing ecosystem resources.”  The reduced pumping levels “will affect south of Delta wildlife refuges, urban users, including many disadvantaged communities, and farmers and could be about 2,000 acre-feet of lost water per day.”

Depending on the weather, about 38,000 acre-feet, or $38 million worth of water could be lost.

Western Growers will protest this decision, which marks a troubling move by the State Water Board to effectively wrest control of the State Water Project and Central Valley Project from federal and state agencies with relevant experience and expertise.

Last year, Western Growers and other groups sounded a similar alarm in a letter to Gov. Brown, which you can VIEW HERE.