Delta Water Quality Waivers Protested

DROUGHT: Bay-Delta Water Quality Waivers Protested Groups explain legal case for ‘injury’ in protest to water officials

Sacramento – Today, a coalition of environmental, fishing, and social justice organizations sent to state and federal water officials a formal protest against the proposed “Temporary Urgency Change Petition” (TUCP) submitted by the California Department of Water Resources and United States Bureau of Reclamation.

The formal letter of protest sent to agencies today, explains that:

The State Water Board has statutory water rights and constitutional authority over what becomes of Petitioners’ supplies that remain. In the service of reasonable protection of public trust resources, sacred and native fish species, and Delta communities from water-borne and aerosol toxins from harmful algal blooms, the State Water Board should revise the TUCP so that it better comports with the public interest, reasonable and beneficial use of water, the public trust, and environmental justice and civil rights policies during drought.

A coalition of organizations joined this protest.

Matt Holmes, Little Manila:
The current TUCP submitted by CA DWR and US BOR is perfectly consistent with a long history of valuing the interests of propertied water rights over those of impacted communities like ours in South Stockton. Once again, we see that the regulatory agencies who are supposed to represent all of our interests clearly care more about the economic impacts to a minority of disproportionately influential stakeholders over the public health and quality of life impacts visited on low income communities of color. If they ever hope to acknowledge their obligation to protect communities like ours, the State Water Board should correct its history by denying the current petition and reserving what little water is left to deliver ecosystem benefits for already overburdened California communities.

Tom Stokely, co-director, Save California Salmon:
The Bureau of Reclamation and Department of Water Resources are again asking to be rewarded by poor management of the state’s major reservoirs. They emptied them during the good years and are now asking to get let off the hook by waiving water quality standards and killing salmon. The State Water Board should deny the petition or order DWR and USBR to stop releasing so much water for agriculture to save it for people and fish for another dry year.

Tim Stroshane, policy analyst, Restore the Delta:
DWR and the Bureau released nearly a half-million acre-feet of water to wealthy senior water right holders who grow rice for export early this spring, rather than hold enough water in their lakes to protect salmon and prevent harmful algal blooms in the Delta this summer. More gifts of water to almond growers await release this summer unless the State Water Board steps in to correct this injustice and prevent cultural genocide against Northern California Indian Tribes and a public health calamity in the Delta.