By Chris Shutes, CSPA Projects Director
The Division of Water Rights of the State Water Resources Control Board has canceled the application of San Joaquin County to divert South Fork American River water through EBMUD’s Freeport diversion on the Sacramento River. The proposed application would have sent the water to Pardee Reservoir on the Mokelumne River, and eventually to a proposed Duck Creek Reservoir and groundwater recharge in Eastern San Joaquin County.
CSPA protested this application in May, 2008, as did Friends of the River and Defenders of Wildlife. A sizable group of water purveyors also protested. The project, proposed originally in 1990 to divert water from Folsom Lake through the Folsom South Canal (as a backup to part of the Auburn Dam application), went through many versions. In 2009, the Division of Water Rights required San Joaquin to produce a new Water Availability Analysis, which was produced in late 2009. CSPA filed comments on the Analysis in June, 2010, describing numerous defects. San Joaquin failed to respond to the comments on the Water Availability Analysis by CSPA and eight other parties, and also failed to resolve any of the protests.
A series of delays and a pattern of non-response by San Joaquin finally moved the Division to cancel the application. Perhaps the greatest single shortcoming by San Joaquin was its failure to make any progress in negotiating use of the Freeport Diversion. San Joaquin County may seek a hearing at the Board to ask for reconsideration within thirty days.