Modesto Irrigation District Offers Agreement Package in Lieu of Unimpaired Flows

Major Milestone Achieved in Continued Effort to advance Voluntary Agreements

Districts applaud Governor Newsom’s commitment to Voluntary Agreements

Today, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and California Department of Water Resources submitted a package of voluntary agreements to the State Water Resources Control Board. The package

– supported by the Modesto Irrigation District, Turlock Irrigation District, City and County of San Francisco and more than 40 other water agencies, resource agencies and non-governmental environmental groups – is being offered as an alternative to the unimpaired flow paradigm adopted by the State Water Resources Control Board last December.

This historic step forward is the result Governor’s Newsom’s commitment to “cross the finish line on real agreements to save the Sacramento-San Joaquin Bay Delta” (State of the State, February 12, 2019). Under the leadership of Cal-EPA Secretary Blumenfeld and Natural Resources Agency Secretary Crowfoot, MID, TID, Sacramento Valley water users and non-governmental organizations finalized river-specific project descriptions and a planning agreement.

“Governor Newsom’s commitment to the voluntary agreement concept has been evident since the day he took office,” TID General Manager Casey Hashimoto said. “He’s dedicated significant amounts of his administration’s time and resources to work collaboratively with water users and environmental communities to advance the voluntary agreement framework that will serve as a durable and beneficial solution for all – our environment, our rivers, our water supply, and our communities.”

The agreement includes a proposed schedule and procedures for assisting the State Water Resources Control Board as it updates the Bay-Delta Plan. This includes the parties to the agreement – in coordination with the State Water Resources Control Board – conducting further analyses of the benefits and other effects of the project description. Work will continue throughout the year with a request that the State Water Board consider adoption of a comprehensive plan and proposed amendments consistent with the voluntary agreements by the end of this year.

The project descriptions and planning agreement submitted today integrate river flow and non-flow measures to establish water quality conditions that support the viability of native fisheries and achieve related objectives in the State Water Board’s Bay-Delta Plan.

The Tuolumne River project description included in the package will ensure water security and reliability, includes environmental improvements, are projected to enhance fish populations beyond what is projected in the State’s current plan and provides for timely implementation.

“We’ve done the science on the Tuolumne River; we’ve negotiated in good faith and now we’ve memorialized all of our work and progress to date,” MID General Manager Scott Furgerson said. “The Districts remain committed to advancing this historic water agreement as it is key to balancing the needs of our communities and our environmental resources.”

The full project descriptions and planning agreement can be viewed here.

 

 

Central SJV Growers Frustrated Re: 100% Water Allocations in Northern California

Cannon Michael: There is a Complete Lack of Common Sense

Water Allocations Unfairly Distribute Suffering in the Central Valley

 

Feather River growers in Northern California have 100 percent water allocations and it’s very frustrating to Central Valley Farmers.

“True, it’s a drought year but there have been opportunities to get water south of the Delta that have been completely blown by mismanagement, over-regulation, a complete lack of common sense, and lack of understanding what the real needs are,” said Cannon Michael, a 6th generation California farmer in Merced County.

“The California Water Resources Control Board, and the Bureau of Reclamation have sent more than 1.8 million acre feet of water out the Golden Gate only for a possible need for fish. When you have such a dramatic need for humans, it’s just insanity; and at a some point, it all has to catch up with a lot of people,” said Michael, who has had to set aside 15 percent of his farm due to no water.

“The people who are regulating and the people who are legislating have insulation from this for a little while, but it eventually is going to catch them,” Michael said. “The problem for me is that these regulations hurt the poorest of the people and the minority community, who are already having a tough time.”

“These regulations and low water allocations are taking away valuable fresh food and milk, and all the things people need for life. It’s taking away jobs and will displace thousands of workers who will have to get in food lines to survive. And this is completely unnecessary,” said Michael.

“There could have been way more water allocations exported safely this year. There were no fish at the pumps and we have the data to prove it,” said Michael.

“We had good storms in February, March and April, but the majority of that water went out the Bay; it wasn’t even close,” said Michael.

“There are too many left-leaning decisions from the California Water Resources Control Board to the 9th Circuit Court in San Francisco, which made a recent ruling that hurt agriculture, agreeing that the Bureau of Reclamation did not consider the safety of the Delta Smelt several years ago when it exporter water south. And then on top of everything, Governor Brown pulls the funding from ag education. It is a constant barrage against agriculture, and when will it ever be enough?” asked Michael.

“There is no respect for California agriculture. There are so many people spinning lies about our industry. Do they want all the specialty crops that they enjoy eating coming from other countries? Again, it’s insanity,” he said.

And Michael said the farmer is always, always held accountable while the environmental community is never held accountable. “There is no accounting for what they use the water allocation for when it’s released it to the ocean. There is no report on what good it’s doing. They are not at all held to the same standards as California Farmers.”