For Immediate Release: Thursday, June 18, 2015
Contact: Steve Hopcraft 916/457-5546; [email protected]; Twitter: @shopcraft;
Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla 209/479-2053 [email protected]; Twitter: @RestoretheDelta;
Bill Jennings, CSPA, 209-464-5067
Salmon & Other Fisheries Near Extinction,
Delta Farmers Reduce Water Use by 25%,
State Water Contractors Say It’s Not Enough
Sacramento, CA – Restore the Delta (RTD), the leading opponents of Gov. Brown’s rush to build massive underground water tunnels that would drain the Delta and doom sustainable farms, salmon and other Pacific fisheries, today responded to the Metropolitan Water District and the State Water Contractor’s complaint against the State Water Resources Control Board that Delta farmers are stealing water that “belongs” to State Water Contractors.
“The pumps for the State Water Projects have yet to be turned off one day during the drought. Water quality standards are being violated in the Delta each and every day this year, impacting Delta urban water users and family farms. We are perilously close to losing Delta smelt, and our iconic salmon fisheries, and despite Delta family farms already taking a voluntary 25 percent reduction in water use, the State Water Contractors believe the Delta should be made into a complete sacrifice zone for their water exports,” said Restore the Delta executive director Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla.
Pressured by the Metropolitan Water District and Kern County Water Agency, the Delta and California’s reservoirs have been mismanaged by the Department of Water Resources and the Bureau of Reclamation during the drought so that these agencies could continue to export as much water as possible despite the negative impacts on the Bay-Delta estuary. DWR and the Bureau of Reclamation failed to hold back enough water for continued drought conditions despite warnings to do so by fishery and environmental water groups throughout the state.
“State and Federal contractors, who have been illegally storing water that belongs to others for years, should not accuse Delta farmers of stealing some of their stolen water, on the basis of a seriously flawed study, with a long list of unsupported assumptions,” said Bill Jennings, Executive Director of the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance.
“As the weeks go by, it becomes clearer and clearer that the only way to stop the over pumping of the SF Bay-Delta estuary, and Governor Brown’s planned tunnels project, is for an adjudication of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta watershed. The problem is that we do not have the water to meet the insatiable demand of special interest growers in California, like those in the Kern County Water Agency, or the Metropolitan Water District, which used up the majority of its three-year stored water supply in 2014, and only began to get serious about conservation this year,” added Barrigan-Parrilla.