Environmentalist: State and feds, not farmers, illegally diverting water

Article from Stockton Record.


By Alex Breitler/Record Staff Writer
Posted Aug. 20, 2014 @ 12:01 am

A Stockton environmentalist is fighting back against water users and government agencies who recently claimed Delta farmers might be illegally diverting water.

Bill Jennings, head of the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance, filed a complaint alleging that it’s the state and federal water projects that are illegally diverting.
Most of the water pumped out of the south Delta comes from the San Joaquin River, not the Sacramento River, Jennings argued.

But the state Department of Water Resources doesn’t store any water on the San Joaquin side, he said. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation does, at New Melones Lake, but that water is limited to the Stanislaus River and is supposed to serve only San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Tuolumne and Calaveras counties, Jennings wrote. It’s not available for export to other parts of the state, he said.

Jennings asked the State Water Resources Control Board to investigate.

His request came shortly after the state and federal agencies and water districts south of the Delta filed their own request with the water board, arguing that Delta farmers may be illegally diverting water that was intended for export from the estuary.

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