On 11 May 2020, CSPA, AquAlliance, California Water Impact Network and the South and Central Delta Water Agencies filed a federal lawsuit against the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (USBR) and the San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority over the EIS/EIR for the proposed Long-Term Water Transfer Project (Project). The Project proposes to transfer as much as 600,000 acre-feet of water from sellers upstream of the Sacramento/San Joaquin Delta to buyers south of the Delta. The lawsuit alleges violations of the National Environmental Policy Act, Administrative Procedures Act, California Environmental Quality Act and Public Trust Doctrine.
The Project would have devastating impacts to degraded Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta fisheries and water quality by exacerbating the suite of existing problems. Because it relies on “groundwater substitution” for transferred water, it would have detrimental effects on groundwater and connected surface water and habitats in the counties of origin.
In 2015, the Bureau had proposed a similar ten-year water transfer program. CSPA and allies litigated the EIR/EIS and prevailed in 2018, when the judge vacated the project. Subsequently, the Bureau simply cobbled together pieces of the invalidated 2015 EIS/EIR interwoven with fragmented updates in a new environmental document. The new 2019 EIS/EIR fails to correct the inadequacies in the earlier document plus inadequately addressing the changed scope of the project and changed environmental conditions.
The Aqua Terra Aeris Law Group and Law Offices of Michael Jackson are representing CSPA, AquAlliance and CWIN and the Soluri Meserve Law Corporation are representing South and Central Delta Water Agencies.