Northern California Rejects Long-Term Water Transfer Agreement2 min read

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Just days away from a program scoping process comment deadline, northern California water irrigation districts stand firm behind their February 2nd letter, which states they will not agree to sell their water to Central Valley water contractors.

The proposed U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s 10-year “Long-Term North to South Water Transfers” program, would ship up to thousands of acre-feet of water from northern California to the San Luis&Delta-Mendota Water Authority; which represents agricultural water districts in the San Joaquin Valley and Southern California. The realization of this program is contingent on the willingness of northern California sellers and that willingness has yet to be seen.

A week few weeks ago, Glenn-Colusa Irrigation District, Maxwell Irrigation District, Natomas Central Mutual Water Company, Pelger Mutual Water Company, Princeton-Codora-Glenn Irrigation District, Provident Irrigation District, Reclamation District No. 108 and River Garden Farms, all rallied to formally submit a letter withdrawing their participation in the long-term water transfer program.

In the letter, the districts voiced concern for the long term protection of the right to their water supplies. The letter further explain, “[the Bureau of Reclamation’s] position threatens landowners within our service areas of not having enough water to irrigate crops, puts at risk endangered species and water fowl that rely upon the continued irrigation of their lands, and could ruin the regional economy.”

With this in mind, it begs the question: In these cash strapped times, is it necessary to spend state, federal and local money on pursuing the development of the water transfer program when a vital component is not willing to participate?

The deadline to submit comments regarding the “Long-Term North to South Water Transfers” program is February 28th. You can submit comments to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation by clicking here.

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Traci Sheehan is the Executive Director of The Planning and Conservation League, a statewide, nonprofit lobbying organization. For more than thirty years, PCL has fought to develop a body of environmental laws in California that is the best in the United States.

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