California’s water wars heat up at Sacramento hearing over river flows

At the Capitol on Monday, farmers protest a proposal by water officials to increase flows for the lower San Joaquin River. Photo: Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press

Central Valley farmers and their elected leaders converged on Sacramento on Tuesday to accuse the state of engineering a water grab that puts the fate of fish above their fields and jeopardizes a thriving agricultural economy.

The allegations came at a meeting of the powerful State Water Resources Control Board, which recently unveiled a far-reaching plan to shore up the health of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, the West Coast’s largest estuary and a source of water for much of California. The plan calls for irrigation districts as well as some urban water suppliers, including San Francisco, to reduce their draws on rivers that feed the delta in an effort to boost inflows into the depleted estuary and help wildlife.

Tuesday’s fractious hearing followed a protest a day earlier by more than 1,000 growers at the state Capitol, and it comes as the Trump administration escalates its attacks on California water policy.

“From where we sit, this has been all take and no give,” said Assemblyman Adam Gray, D-Merced, who was among the mostly rural, yet bipartisan group of speakers criticizing the water board as being too aggressive.

“If the conversation is going to evolve, the proposal […]

More About California’s Water Politics and Infrastructure:

Defying water suppliers, Palo Alto backs Bay-Delta Plan

The Valley floor is sinking, and it’s crippling California’s ability to deliver water

How Water Gets From the Sierra Nevada Mountains to Los Angeles

Sinking land, poisoned water: the dark side of California’s mega farms

California’s water wars heat up at Sacramento hearing over river flows
Article Name
California’s water wars heat up at Sacramento hearing over river flows
Central Valley farmers and elected leaders converged to accuse California of engineering a water grab that values fish over a thriving agricultural economy.
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San Francisco Chronicle
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