The Friant Water Authority is upset with the Bureau of Reclamation for releasing water from Friant Dam to supply San Joaquin River Exchange Contractors. The action began on Friday. Friant’s Class 1 allocation, meanwhile, stands at just 15% and may decrease further.
In a statement, Friant claimed the amount of water being released is enough to supply Los Angeles for a year. The impacts “will be staggering for both humans and the ecosystem,” with wells running dry in dozens of communities that depend on that water for recharge. Friant charged the move will decimate spring-run salmon as well.
It framed the underlying issue driving the problem as “poorly designed regulations” meant to protect Delta fish species.
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“One day, Californians will wake up to realize that they didn’t sacrifice farms to save fish—they lost both,” argued Friant.
The contractors receive water in exchange for the supply they lost when the federal government built the Central Valley Project. When the Delta lacks enough water to meet the contract, Reclamation sends them Friant water instead.
The issue is in court over how much the government is obligated to send to the contractors.