Senator Dianne Feinstein’s S. 1759, “Water Transfer Facilitation Act of 2009,” is on the U.S. Senate Legislative Calendar, and opponents fear that it could be included in omnibus legislation. This is the legislation that would relax the law in order to benefit the Kern Water Bank and other private entities profiting from taxpayer subsidized water and infrastructure. It would allow high flows in the San Joaquin River, crucial to the Delta’s ecological health, to be diverted outside of the CVP service area and to non-CVP contractors for use in the state’s multi-billion dollar private water sales market.
Under the legislation, federally subsidized $20 an acre foot water could be resold in the open market for more than $1000 an acre foot. Environmental review would be relaxed, with a single programmatic EIR used for the Central Valley Project transfers. This would help hide the environmental impacts of individual transfers.
Restore the Delta has joined conservation and fisheries communities in asking the chairs of the Committee on Energy & Natural Resources and the Subcommittee on Water and Power to prevent this legislation from advancing.