August 21, 2018

‘Time for action is now.’ Interior chief demands plan to pump more California water south

The Trump administration is accelerating efforts to pump more of Northern California’s water to farmers in the San Joaquin Valley, setting up a bruising conflict with state officials and environmentalists. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke last week sent a memo to underlings demanding a plan within 15 days aimed at “maximizing water supply deliveries” to irrigation districts south of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.  “The time for action is now,” he wrote.

In the memo, Zinke also blasted a proposal by the State Water Resources Control Board that would restrict water deliveries to Valley farms and cities, as well as much of the Bay Area, in order to prop up endangered fish populations. The state board is starting two days of hearings on the plan Tuesday, although it has postponed a decision indefinitely to encourage environmentalists and farm groups to reach compromises.  Read more

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