CSPA, along with other environmental groups and fishing organizations, tribes, water agencies and counties, has prevailed in a lawsuit to stop the Westlands Water District from obtaining a permanent water contract with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. On October 27th, a Fresno County judge declined to validate a contract granting permanent access to water from the Central Valley Project. The contract would have given Westlands permanent access to up to 1.15 million acre-feet of water per year for irrigation and other private purposes.
Westlands has been operating on an interim contract basis, renewing its water deal with the Bureau every two years. It sought to make the contract permanent, but did not fulfill the lawful requirements of including details of payments to the government or public notice.
In his Order denying validation, Judge Tharpe wrote that the incomplete contract lacked financial terms and proper public notice under the Brown Act and could not be validated.
The law offices of Stephan Volker represented CSPA in this matter.
This victory is a significant setback to the last-minute maneuver of the Trump administration to provide water to Westlands at the expense of the public interest in the protection of fisheries and the environment.