California Sportfishing Protection Alliance
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CSPA stands in the way: DWR willing to further imperil fisheries by pumping Central Valley groundwater south

January 20, 2009 -- The California Sportfishing Protection Alliance and the Butte Environmental Council (BEC) vehemently oppose the idea of using the Central Valley's already stressed groundwater supplies, some of which would be used to supplement the needs of highly subsidized cash crop farmers whose farms are located in some of the most environmentally hazardous farmland in the United States, as a source of supplementing water shipments south. These reserves, designated as the Drought Water Bank by Department of Water Resources (DWR), are not the answer to an already over drafted and over sold system.

When closely examined, the Drought Water Bank is simply a scheme to tap groundwater in the Sacramento Valley as DWR and the Bureau of Reclamation have already depleted surface water storage in Oroville and Shasta reservoirs (Oroville is at the lowest level in history) to export to Southern California.  The letter outlines the lack of environmental review and the project's potential environmental damage to the Tuscan Aquifer.  Maintaining groundwater levels in the aquifer is fundamental to maintaining stream flow in Butte Creek and other eastside tributaries that contain much of the remaining critical habitat for endangered salmonids.  If the water table drops in the aquifer, these eastside streams could become ephemeral and listed salmon species could tumble into extinction.  DWR's actions are only the latest example of DWR willfully ignoring the California Environmental Quality Act to facilitate water exports.  BEC and CSPA will pursue the matter if DWR rejects complying with California Environmental Quality Act.

Read the CSPA/Butte Environmental Council Letter