Broad group of farmers express concerns over State Water Board’s approach to flows

Broad group of farmers express concerns over State Water Board’s approach to flows.
In a letter to the State Water Resources Control Board, a broad group of Central Valley farmers have expressed concerns over the Board’s use of unimpaired flows in the proposals for phase 1 and 2 of the Bay Delta Water Quality Control Plan.
The farmers are strongly opposed to the use of unimpaired flows and say the approach, if implemented as proposed, would significantly impact their operations, the economies of farming communities, and groundwater resources, as well as the terrestrial and aquatic environment in the Central Valley.
Instead, the farmers are advocating a ‘functional flow’ approach where flows would specifically support fish and wildlife, but do so in a more water efficient and practical manner than unimpaired flow.
The approach should also include non-flow measures such as habitat and floodplain restoration, they say.
The letter also points out that the SED as currently written assumes groundwater pumping will replace the reduction in surface water, which would eliminate the possibility of sustainable groundwater management without significantly reducing agricultural production and impacting local economies.
The letter also requests the study of possible canal improvements and additional surface storage to help provide ‘new’ water for functional flows, and that a range of alternative ways be analyzed that can achieve the same increase in fish population while lessening the significant effects of the project.
“We must employ the best available science in a collaborative and comprehensive way if we wish to benefit species recovery in our lifetimes,” the letter concludes.
For more information … Functional Flows in Modified Riverscapes: Hydrographs, Habitats and Opportunities, by Yarnell et al; journal article in BioScience Seminar explores the science of natural functional flows to the Delta, article by the Delta Science Program Sign up for daily emails and get all the Notebook’s aggregated and original water news content delivered to your email box by 9AM.
Breaking news alerts, too.

Learn More