CSPA Action Alert May 17, 2010
CSPA Protests Developer’s Water Rights Application in Foresthill, Placer County
By Chris Shutes, CSPA Water Rights Advocate
North Shirttail Canyon Creek is listed by the State Water Resources Control Board as a fully appropriated stream. As a result, Ryan is not allowed to apply for a new permit for water from the creek. Ryan’s unusual workaround is to suggest that because FPUD has not yet used all the water its permit allows, Forest Ranch should be allowed some of it on a "temporary" basis. CSPA is particularly concerned that this proposal for allegedly temporary use will eviscerate the protections afforded by laws regarding fully appropriated streams, creating hardened water demand that will lead to systemic over-allocation of water.
In support of his approach, Ryan cites several sections of the Water Code that allow temporary use of water authorized but not yet used under municipal permits. Such use has traditionally been for such purposes as irrigation. However, according to other sections of the Water Code, a proposed municipal development must identify a long-term water source.
In addition, a 2007 California Supreme Court case, Vineyard Area Citizens for Responsible Growth v City of Rancho Cordova, requires that an environmental impact report show the reasonable likelihood of long term water supply for municipal development. The EIR cited by Ryan says that there is enough water to support only about a quarter of the development.
A group representing many local residents, Foresthill Residents for Responsible Growth, also protested the application, and submitted signatures of over 500 local residents to the State Water Board in opposition to Ryan’s application.Read CSPA’s protest here.