Environmental Groups Sue Feds Over Statewide Water Transfers

Jun 11, 2014 5:19 PM

Two environmental groups have filed a lawsuit in federal court against the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation claiming it has not adequately disclosed the impacts of proposed north-to-south water transfers to help thirsty water districts and farms in the Central Valley.

Chico-based AquAlliance and the California Sportsfishing Protection Alliance filed the suit in U.S. District Court in Sacramento Wednesday.

Barbara Vlamis of AquaAlliance said Bureau's own environmental assessment on the impact of allowing North State water users to send more than 175-thousand acre feet of water this summer southward is woefully inadequate.

One-hundred and seventy-thousand acre feet would fill about a 20th of Lake Oroville's full capacity.

"It's past time for (the Bureau) to comply with the law and factually analyze the enormous impact caused by their water transfers to agricultural interests with junior water rights that chose to palcen permandent crops in the desert, " Vlamis said.

Earlier this year, governor Jerry Brown issued a statewide drought declaration, which also called for the streamlining of water transfers for parts of the state in severe need of water.

The Bureau of Reclamation has yet to comment on the lawsuit.


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