On Tuesday, July 21 CSPA filed a complaint with the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) against the SWRCB, US Bureau of Reclamation (USBR), and California Department of Water Resources (DWR) alleging a multitude of serious water quality violations during the current drought. The complaint alleges that in allowing these violations, these the agencies have violated the Bay-Delta Plan, D-1641 critically dry year water quality objectives, the Clean Water Act, the Endangered Species Act, the Public Trust Doctrine and the California Constitution.
Violations of Bay-Delta Plan and D-1641 requirements have resulted in increased salinity that has directly impacted multiple species, including American Shad, splittail, Chinook salmon, and the almost extinct Delta smelt. Despite growing consequences, the agencies have not provided any assurance of reasonable use of water. Agricultural practices like flood irrigation and the continued production of low value crops are allowed to continue while water standards are weakened to the point of ecological collapse.
Time and time, again the SWRCB has weakened and refused to enforce minimum standards during drought, and California’s fisheries and the public’s water security have paid dearly for these actions. Without an end to this drought in sight, the SWRCB must use its authority to enforce water quality standards and balance the public trust with competing uses.