Chris Shutes, CSPA Water Rights Advocate
CSPA has protested petitions for extension of time filed by the Department of Water Resources with the State Water Resources Control Board. DWR seeks an additional 5 years to increase the amount of water it is permitted to use at DWR’s Oroville Reservoir, Delta pumps, and San Luis Reservoir. DWR could increase the allowed amount by actually using more water in any given year than it has in any past year, up to the “face value” of the permits. DWR states that its petitions for extension of time do not seek to change the permits to include new facilities.
CSPA argues in its protest that there is no reasonable likelihood that DWR will use more water than it has in the past using existing facilities. In the petitions, DWR discusses possible future changes in the State Water Project. CSPA argues that future changes that may or may not occur are irrelevant to the present petitions, whose scope includes no such changes. Granting an extension of time which fails on the merits would give special dispensation with special rules to DWR. Such dispensation would be contrary to law, would have adverse environmental impacts, and would not be in the public interest.