Citizens voice opposition to water transfers

Oct 22, 2014 12:36 AM by Jason Atcho

"This is ridiculous and it's going to put us out of business." That was the attitude of many people in attendance of Tuesday night's Bureau of Reclamation meeting in Chico. They discussed a 10 year plan for water transfers from local water agencies to those in central California. "The document is developed to introduce a potential transfer through willing sellers and willing buyers," explained Louis Moore of the Bureau of Reclamation.

The meeting allowed for public opinion to be added to the official documents for the proposal. Many people showed up to have their voices heard. "I'm a farmer and I've already got one well dry. I've never seen water levels even close to this," said one man. Another added "I can't believe that you people can sit here in good faith and say you want to do this to us."

Opponents say the amount of water that could be transferred in this 10 year period would equal the amount of water Chico would use in 200 years. "This project has the potential to devastate the Sacramento Valley and the agencies have brushed it aside as though it's inconsequential," said Barbara Vlamis, Executive Director of AcuAlliance.

Proponents say water wouldn't necessarily be transferred every year. It would only occur when sellers have excess water to transfer. Also, the Bureau of Reclamation would have to approve it and make sure it wouldn't have any environmental impacts. Mike Wade of the California Farm Water Coalition said "Northern California has generally an abundance of water and by being able to transfer water from willing sellers to willing buyers, it helps even out the peaks and valleys of our annual water supply."

Those who support the proposal say scientific models show that transferring the water won't have major impacts on the region, but opponents argue there aren't enough facts to back that up. "If they can prove scientifically, not by guess-timation, that there is excess water here that can be sent somewhere else without hurting this region, I will be first at the spicket to open it up. They've never demonstrated that," said Vlamis.

If you couldn't make it to the meeting, you still have a chance for your voice to be heard. You have until December 1st to contact the Bureau of Reclamation. You can send a letter to Mr. Brad Hubbard, Bureau of Reclamation, 2800 Cottage Way, Sacramento, CA 95825 MP-410. You can also send an email to or send a fax to 916-978-5290.


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