“In a reversal potentially impacting the water supply to millions of Californians, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals recently upheld a biological opinion issued by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) regarding the effect of California State Water Project (SWP) and federal Central Valley Project (CVP) operations on the delta smelt—a small fish located in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. The Ninth Circuit held the biological opinion valid, largely based on general principles of deference to federal agencies.
“The Bureau of Reclamation today [March 17] released the final report on the Central Valley Project Integrated Resource Plan. Reclamation investigated climate change impacts on water supplies and demands in the CVP service area and performed an exploratory analysis of potential adaptation strategies to address these impacts. The Plan was authorized by the CALFED Bay Delta Authorization Act (P.L.
“Newly confirmed Deputy Secretary Michael L. Connor has praised Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell’s decision to appoint Lowell Pimley to serve as acting Commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation until a new Commissioner is selected by President Obama and confirmed by the Senate.
From The Sacramento Bee, in a commentary by Jim O’Banion:
“The negative impacts of the dry water year will be multiplied many times over if a proposal by a state agency becomes reality. It would overturn water rights held by water districts for more than 100 years.
“In this water-short year, the state Department of Water Resources and the U.S.
“A state water official said Thursday that despite the ‘horrifying’ drought gripping the state, there’s still a chance that farmers will get San Joaquin River water this summer instead of the ‘zero allocation’ announced.”
“Northern California crops are dominated by orchards and rice, which make up the bulk of farm income. …
“Both the Department of Water Resources and the Bureau of Reclamation have said water deliveries will be very low or nonexistent for growers. Some districts with senior water rights have been told water delivery will be 40 percent.
During a marathon Shasta Lake City Council meeting Tuesday night, councilors approved an excess-use penalty fee for water customers and established a plan on how to replace resigning council member Ron Dixon.
“In response to California’s extreme drought conditions that, though helped, have not been fixed by the recent rainfall, the U.S.
“Until the federal government fulfills water obligations in the north, don’t send it south.
“That was the message from Sacramento River settlement contractors, through an attorney, to the Bureau of Reclamation, which recently forecast the water deliveries to the districts and water companies along the river would be cut by 60 percent.”
From the Northern California Water Association (NCWA) Blog:
“In a viewpoint in the Sacramento Bee, Roseville Chamber of Commerce President Randall Wilson paints a compelling picture of the dynamics surrounding Folsom Reservoir and the need to rethink water management in the future.”
“The strain on water supplies in this serious drought year was evident this week, as major landowners in the Sacramento Valley protested the federal government’s forecast that it will deliver only 40 percent of usual water supplies.
From the Stockton Record Alex Breitler Environment blog:
“Some observers were surprised when Central Valley Project contractors on the Stanislaus River — namely, Stockton East Water District and Central San Joaquin Water Conservation District — were told they would receive 55 percent of their requested water this year, unless conditions change.”
From The Salinas Californian, in a commentary by Dennis Taylor:
“While farmers in the Salinas Valley are increasingly worried about future irrigation water, the federal Bureau of Reclamation told farmers in the Central Valley on Friday that they will have a zero allocation of water from the Central Valley Water Project.
“Meanwhile, Republicans and Democrats in Sacramento are introducing water bills that often serve only to counter the other party’s water bills.
“In a crushing reminder of the state’s parched plight, federal officials announced Friday that the Central Valley Project — California’s largest water delivery system — will provide no water this year to Central Valley farmers and only 50 percent of the contracted amount to urban areas such as Santa Clara and Contra Costa counties.”
“After weeks of speculation on how much water from Millerton Lake might be released this year to South Valley farmers and communities that depend on it, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation made its announcement on Friday.”