CALIFORNIA CITRUS MUTUAL: Controversial Water Plan Postponed

California Citrus Mutual issued the following announcement on Aug. 17.

The State Water Resources Control Board announced yesterday that they would not be approving their update to the Bay-Delta Plan at the August 21-22 Board hearing as initially planned. The proposal would have required an average of 40% unimpaired flows away from agricultural water users in the lower San Joaquin River. The State Board will still hold a public hearing on the staff proposal, but the postponement will allow additional time for settlement discussions to occur.

The postponement decision is a welcome sign for agricultural water users directly impacted along the Merced, Tuolumne, and Stanislaus rivers. It is also important for the broader agricultural community that would have been subject to the setting of bad precedent and the likelihood that their water would be next in line for additional takings by the State Board.

The success of this decision can be contributed to many in agriculture standing together for a common cause. The efforts of our elected representatives, water districts, social media campaigns, agricultural organizations, and individual growers were all vital in creating the necessary political pressure to make this decision happen.

Also critical to the success were letters actions undertaken by two government agencies from opposite ends of the spectrum. One was the letter written by the Bureau of Reclamation threatening legal action against the State Board if they sought to devalue the federal government’s investment in their water projects among many other concerns with the State’s proposal. The other was a letter from the John Laird, the Secretary of the California Natural Resources Agency. The Secretary is a key advisor to the Governor and oversees the Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Department of Water Resources. The Secretary’s letter officially requested the State Board delay their proposed action and give the agency the opportunity to update the State Board on adaptive management and the value of voluntary settlement agreements. CCM played a part in these efforts by encouraging these exact actions in recent meetings with top officials in the Department of the Interior and the California Natural Resources Agency.

While we are pleased with the State Board’s postponement decision, this effort is far from over. We must remain engaged and united against this and other harmful water policies the State Board seems committed to impose on the agricultural community.

Original source can be found here.

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California Citrus Mutual

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