A California water group poured gasoline on the already-blazing California Water Wars with a lawsuit calling for an end to pumping on the California Delta until “certain” drainage-impaired farmland is retired.
Longtime Underground readers will realize most the “certain” lands referenced in the lawsuit belong to Westlands Irrigation District – the politically connected irrigation group (and Underground whipping boys) who bought some hugely expensive private property on the McCloud River so there’d be one less obstacle standing in the way of raising Shasta Dam (and flooding miles of the Upper Sac, McCloud, and Pit Rivers).
From the SF Chronicle: Group wants chemical-filled farmland retired:
The giant state and federal pumps in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta that funnel water to 25 million Californians should be shut down until certain Central Valley farmers retire hundreds of thousands of acres of chemical-laden farmland, according to a lawsuit filed today by a state water watchdog.
Irrigating agricultural land in the western San Joaquin Valley tainted with selenium, mercury, boron and other toxic substances constitutes an unreasonable use of a public resource protected by state laws and has contributed to the sharp decline of endangered fish species, said the California Water Impact Network.
“We think there is a simple solution to California’s water problems – to retire all of the drainage-impaired lands in the Central Valley. A second is water conservation – agriculture uses 80 percent of the developed surface water,” said Carolee Krieger, president and founder C-WIN.
The always-excellent Aquafornia blog offers multiple perspectives on the lawsuit, including this unique angle from the Stockton Record:
State and federal water managers have increased exports to farms and cities south of the Delta even as fish populations plummet, says the lawsuit, filed in Sacramento County Superior Court. Northern California reservoirs have been â€œcannibalizedâ€ for the sake of Southern California, and irrigation of drainage-impaired lands in the western San Joaquin Valley is a waste of water, the groups say.
I guarantee this lawsuit won’t find favor in Sacramento, where the Governator (recently picked for Environmental Villan of the Year by Field & Stream) is desperately trying to build a peripheral canal and add more storage to the state’s reservoirs.
A complete halt to pumping from the Delta is an unlikely result, but even the threat of it should, uh…. galvanize the discussion.
See you at the Delta, Tom Chandler.
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