WATER ALLOCATIONS RAISED FOR SOME WATER RIGHTS AND STATE WATER PROJECT CONTRACTORS
Update April 21, 2014
The State of California and the United States have raised the allocation to all the River settlement contractors along the Sacramento and Feather River to their allocable limits under these flow conditions. This is a good thing. It was obvious that sufficient water was available to meet this level of allocation and it is well known that there is sufficient water to now meet the last water right holders allocation. The Exchange Contractors are still at 40% when they should be at 75%. Even though there are water rights holders without their full share of allocation, the State Water Project has raised their junior right water Contractors to a 5% allocation.
Why aren't the Exchange Contractors getting their water now? Because National Marine Fisheries Services (NMFS) has determined that over 1,000,000 AF of water in behind Shasta Dam needs to be reserved as a cold water pool for salmon in the Sacramento River. In spite of the fact that this cold water pool would not exist if it weren't for the dam. Natural flow in the river would be what it is in a year like this and this years salmon would not survive. As such Friant Water Authority (FWA) and others continue to work on this issue.
FWA continues to manage the effort to get the Exchange Contractors their water so they don't call on the San Joaquin River. This effort by FWA is persistent in spite of the incorrect news and the blame campaign of one of our federal congressional leaders. An example of this is a recent interview on KMJ radio which contained a host of misinformation regarding FWA and its member agencies decision to sign on to the San Joaquin River Settlement. The fact of the matter is, FWA (including Lindmore Irrigation District) lost the lawsuit and the judge was going to make a decision about how much water was going to go down the river for environmental purposes. His decision against the Friant Contractors was based on State rights being superior to Federal policies. He ruled that a section of the water code was not being completely followed by the operators of Friant Dam and that a salmon fishery should be maintained below Friant Dam. That meant that the San Joaquin River had to be directly connected to the Delta and substantially more water needed to be released down the river to meet this objective.
In order for us to change the ruling of the judge we would have to change the opinion of either the California legislative body or the population of California through a propositional vote in order to amend that section of the water code. Considering California's very environmentalist slant and a lack of understanding of the impacts of this water loss, an effort to change law is not undertaken. Passing laws at the federal level would have little impact on the judges decision because the judge ruled that the state's law was superior to federal contracts.
Because FWA and its member districts felt that they had nearly a zero chance of changing the law, we worked in a bipartisan fashion to pass legislation that limited the amount of water to less than 200,000 AF on average. Estimates of delivery if the judge decided were as high as 600,000 AF on average.
FWA Board members felt that the San Joaquin River Settlement was the best option for Friant Contractors in spite of what you might be hearing in the news by local leaders and federal legislators.
How does 1976-77 compare to this year? All of the watersheds in California have already had more precipitation this year than all of 1976-77 (October 1, 1976-September 30, 1977) and we still have five months left in the water year.
The question is, if the delta survived 1976-1977 with less water and substantially more deliveries, why won't it survive 2013-2014 meeting the same water demand?
The State faces significant shortages from the natural drought that is certain. But letting good water run out of the delta and into the ocean, or storing additional water all for the environment is a Bureaucratic blunder of immense proportion. Natural Resource Defense Council has flat out stated that if there are any errors in complying with outflow requirements, they will sue the state and federal governments. National Marine Fisheries Services desires to meet the environmentalists objectives and made extreme decisions in order to do so.
Here is who we are dealing with on these decision:
The State of California Water Resource Control Board is run by city dwelling environmentalists. Cut and paste the following link to your browser to see who they are. http://www.swrcb.ca.gov/about_us/board_members/
National Marine Fisheries Services http://www.westcoast.fisheries.noaa.gov/about_us/california_central_valley_area_office.html
Weekly updates will occur by noon on Mondays or more frequently as necessary.
Next Board meeting is scheduled for May 13, 2014 at 2:00 PM at the Distirct Office.