April 5, 2016

4 Min Read

I figured I’d let you read what came through my e-mail inbox in the wake of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s announced water allocations for 2016.

Below are the comments of others regarding the April 1 federal water allocation by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.

From Jason Peltier, executive director, San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority: “We are furious with today’s allocation announcement. At a time when water supplies have returned to normal and the major reservoirs are in flood control operations, the federal fishery agencies continue to hoard water instead of using a balanced approach that includes water for productive California farms and businesses and many of its people.

“Mother nature has given us all the water we need. There is no question that failed regulations imposed on Reclamation are not achieving their intended goals as the extreme limitations on moving water to farms and cities has had no measurable benefit to the fisheries. President Roosevelt started building this great water project 80 years ago. The mismanagement of it over the last 20 years has crippled its ability to serve thousands of California farms, people in urban areas, as well as our rural economy.

“We forecast fishery controls will cause 1.5 million acre feet of water to flow to the ocean and deprive farms and cities the ability to put it to productive and beneficial use.

“We prayed for rain and Mother Nature blessed us. We begged for a water supply and instead are handed a pittance that is destroying farms, jobs and communities. The faith we once had in the government to intelligently manage our public water resources has also, sadly, been destroyed.”

From Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Tulare: “Water bureaucrats will undoubtedly continue blaming the drought and global warming. But those excuses are becoming even harder to believe in light of the wet conditions brought by El Nino. So what could possibly be responsible for this crisis?

"The Sacramento Bee offers a hint: ‘Federal and state officials have throttled back their water pumping from the Delta in recent weeks because of concerns over potential harm to Delta smelt and other endangered fish species’.

“As you probably know, in the House of Representatives we have passed four bills in the last four years to ease federal regulations that limit Delta water pumping. Every one of our bills has died in the Senate amid opposition from Senators Boxer and Feinstein. Last December, we made a last-ditch attempt to negotiate a compromise with Senator Feinstein that would allow us to capture more water during El Nino this year - and the senator walked away.

“As extreme environmentalists continue to grieve over their precious little Delta smelt - which are not even being saved by these Draconian water restrictions - Westside farmers will be fallowing more land. Seeing as these people feed the nation, we need to keep fighting for them - no matter how long it takes - until their water supply is fully restored.”

From Western Growers President and CEO Tom Nassif: “For months before the El Niño rain and snow arrived, we and many others pleaded with the federal government to capture and store as much water as possible when massive storm runoff reached the Delta.

“We have seen huge flows into, and out of, the Delta this year. Today’s announcement of a measly five percent allocation to farms and cities in the San Joaquin Valley, contrasted with the State Water Project’s 45 percent allocation, provides dark confirmation that a policy of destruction of farmland is in place.

“Already, well over 600,000 acre feet of water that could have been diverted to San Luis Reservoir has been lost to the ocean, and projections suggest that number will reach 1.5 million acre feet if common sense is not restored. 

“The drought has hit farmers, farmworkers and thousands of families hard, but now with the northern reservoirs filled and spilling water to make room for spring snowmelt, the federal government has very deliberately chosen to deny available relief to thousands of Californians in the San Joaquin Valley. This action represents more than a failure of common sense. A government that deliberately chokes off water for its people is a government that has lost its moral compass.”


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