California Water Board Blocks Farmers from Diverting Water from Delta Watershed


On Tuesday, the California Water Commission unanimously approved a proactive move to address the “urgent and disastrous water scarcity.” Urgent regulation To temporarily prevent thousands of farmers, landowners, and others from diverting water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta basin.

The first new regulation to take such widespread action on the large delta basin, which stretches from Fresno to the Oregon border, will soon formally reduce approximately 5,700 water rights holders from 16 August. It can lead to orders. An additional 222 are expected next week, following a reduction order issued to nearly 900 water users along the Russian river that was hit by the drought.

Five Waterboard memberAppointed by Governor Gavin Newsom or former Governor Jerry Brown, has approved the rule, despite fierce opposition from representatives of producers in the Central Valley.

Senator Shannon GroveA Republican at Bakersfield said the regulation would “confuse important production of essential foods … instead, the state would not punish local water managers, but expand water storage and existing water infrastructure. We should focus on upgrades. “

Congressman Adam GrayMerced Democrats called the reduction order for senior water right holders “one of the most devastating steps possible.”

“The legal authority of the board is by no means certain,” Gray wrote to the board. “Producers must risk large fines and penalties just to see if they actually have the powers claimed by the board. In any case, they lose.”

According to Eric Ekdar, deputy director of the water rights division of the board, water users who continue to divert up to $ 1,000 per day plus $ 2,500 per acre-foot of illegally diverted water. You may face penalties.

“Producers must risk large fines and penalties just to see if they actually have the powers claimed by the board. In any case, they lose.”

Most of California has been hit by extreme droughts, with May and June being the warmest and driest on record since 1896. Lake Oroville, one of California’s largest reservoirs, is expected to reach a new historic low in October.

According to the staff of the State Water Resources Management Board, the demand for water from rivers and streams is 16 times higher in the San Joaquin River basin and 3 times higher in the Sacramento River. Flow reduction risks salty regurgitation from Pacific pollutants for beverages, farmers and fish.

Karen RossThe California Food and Agriculture Secretary told the Water Resources Commission:

“Mother Nature and climate change have brought about the circumstances we are facing. Therefore, the decisions you have to make have a very realistic impact on people, but they make these decisions. Not having it would have an even more terrifying impact on people, “Ross said.

A representative of the Westlands Aqueduct, which relies on stored federal water supplies flowing through the Delta, said it supported the Water Board’s regulations.

“They protect the transferred water acquired to help partially mitigate the effects of the drought,” he said. Jon Rubin, Assistant General Manager and General Counsel. “They also help protect the stored water, and for those reasons Westland supports the resolution presented.”

Due to minimal human health and safety needs, such as drinking and home use, the daily supply of up to 55 gallons is exempt from reductions.

In a public comment letter, the city of Vallejo requested the Water Commission to raise the 55 gallon limit or change the calculation method. The restrictions are “too strict,” said Beth Schönberger, Vallejo’s water business manager.

Rachel Becker is a reporter for Cal Matters.

California Water Board Blocks Farmers from Diverting Water from Delta Watershed Source link California Water Board Blocks Farmers from Diverting Water from Delta Watershed



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