Water Projects

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TRO Sought Against Delta Smelt BiOp, but Will Judge Wanger Consider the Science?

The battle for the pumps is on. Quick recap: on February 5, 2010, Judge Wanger issued a 14-day temporary restraining order against one action contained in the NMFS salmonid biological opinion, which (if Wanger had allowed it to be implemented) would have lessened the negative Old & Middle River (OMR) flows.  These are the reverse … Continue reading

Pumping Restriction Out, Pumping Restriction In

In the last post, we focused on the 2009 biological opinion that the National Marine Fisheries Service prepared for salmonids, but a parallel process has been playing out with the delta smelt.  The 2008 BiOp for the pelagic delta smelt was prepared by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.  Both BiOps issued jeopardy determinations and … Continue reading

Judge Wanger Grants 14-Day TRO on the Salmonid BiOp

On June 4, 2009, the National Marine Fisheries Service released a biological opinion that revised a previously invalidated BiOp.  The purpose of the 2009 NMFS BiOp is to assess the impacts of water projects in the Delta on several listed species: winter and spring run Chinook salmon, green sturgeon, Central Valley steelhead, and Southern Resident … Continue reading

Restoration Flows Continue in the San Joaquin River

As of February 1, 2010, the Bureau of Reclamation has continued the increased flows on the San Joaquin River below Friant Dam.  The additional water is released pursuant to the 2006 settlement agreement, which calls for 350 cfs each day this February as part of the effort to restore the dry San Joaquin River and … Continue reading

Record of Decision for the Delta-Mendota Canal / California Aqueduct Intertie

The California Aqueduct and Delta-Mendota Canal; courtesy of Bureau of Reclamation. Last week, in the final days of 2009, it was announced that the long-planned Delta Mendota Canal/California Aqueduct Intertie project finally got its Record of Decision from the U.S. Department of the Interior. The federal government, in its Interim Action Plan for the Bay-Delta … Continue reading

Five Percent Initial SWP Allocation in 2010

The Department of Water Resources has released its initial 2010 allocation for the State Water Project (SWP) — and the allocation is just 5% of the contracted maximum water supply (just over 4.17 million acre-feet). This the lowest in the history of the state project; even lower than in 1993, when the initial allocation was … Continue reading

New Melones and the Stockton East Controversy

In 1979, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers tested and unveiled New Melones, the last unit to be added to the Central Valley Project (CVP), which had just finished construction at the end of 1978. New Melones Dam inundated a section of the Stanislaus River in the Sierra Nevada foothills to create a 2.4 million … Continue reading

CVP Opens Water Year 2010 at 39 Percent of Capacity

Happy (belated) New Year! — water year, of course. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation has announced that we started water year 2010 this October with Central Valley Project reservoirs filled with just 4.4 million acre-feet of water, or 39% of total storage capacity. This is an improvement over last year (35% of capacity), and it’s … Continue reading

Bay-Delta: An Introduction

The Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta (referred to here as simply “the Delta”) is, in a nutshell, California’s most important water resource. The Delta occupies a 1,150-square mile area located just to the east of the San Francisco Bay Area and west of the Central Valley, at the confluence of the south-flowing Sacramento River and the … Continue reading


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