From News Line, a daily compilation of farm water news distributed to CFWC members and others upon request. To receive News Line, click here.

Delta smelt will be in Fresno court this week

Coalition response…Pumping restrictions to protect the smelt began Dec. 7, 2012, and they are still continuing. According to the biological opinions that govern the rate of pumping, these restrictions will continue into June. And they could get worse.  From the day the restrictions first went into place through Jan. 26, 2013, almost 632,000 acre-feet of water was lost to California’s farms, families and businesses and allowed to flow to the ocean. At a replacement cost of $150 per acre-foot that equates to about $95 million, and that’s just the beginning.  The lost economic opportunity of putting that water to work, according to economists, is in the range of $3.5 – $4.5 billion.  And that number is going up every day. Allowing actions in the biological opinions written years ago, and which have been found unlawful by a federal judge to continue to hammer California’s struggling economy without demonstrating a measurable benefit to fish is a waste we should no longer tolerate.  The time is now to make immediate changes in interim actions that are more reasonable and broad-based while comprehensive solutions to improve the ecosystem in the Delta and restore water supplies vital for California’s economy are finalized in the Bay Delta Conservation Plan.

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