CSPA filed objections on July 12 to testimony and exhibits that the Bureau of Reclamation and the Department of Water Resources (collectively, “proponents”) submitted in support of their “WaterFix” effort to construct tunnels under the Delta in order to move water from northern California to points south.
CSPA’s filing to the State Water Resources Control Board was joined by CSPA’s partners California Water Impact Network and AquAlliance. In an unusual confluence of interests and perspectives, numerous water users as well as other fisheries and environmental interests filed objections that are either similar or complementary. If upheld, the objections would exclude large parts or even all of the proponents’ case.
CSPA seeks to exclude submitted evidence on a broad range of legal grounds, which include:
- The proponents have not described the reservoir operations or the operating rules that their modeling simulates. Therefore, any claims in testimony about reservoir operations and their effect on other users of water lack foundation.
- The models on which most of the testimony is based have not been calibrated or validated.
- The proponents’ technical experts inappropriately offer legal opinions.
- Testimony relating to collaborative science and adaptive management is predicated upon speculation, conceptual frameworks, incomplete draft documents and uncertain future decision-making.
- The testimony of many witnesses is “me too” or “and I helped,” and such witnesses should not be allowed to answer questions regarding the written testimony of other witnesses.
Unless the State Board has an epiphany and pulls the plug, hearings on the tunnels are scheduled to begin on July 26. They are likely to go on for well over a year.
State Water Resources Control Board’s WaterFix webpage: http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/waterrights/water_issues/ programs/bay_delta/california_waterfix/water_right_petition.shtml