“Water cops” Likely This Summer as Santa Clara County Misses Drought Goal by Large Margin

If you waste water in Santa Clara County, water cops could soon be on the way.

Since last summer, Santa Clara County residents have been asked to cut water use by 15% from 2019 levels to conserve as the state’s drought worsens. But they continue to miss that target — and by a growing amount.

In March, the county’s 2 million residents not only failed to conserve any water, but they increased use by 30% compared to March 2019, according to newly released data.

Now, faced with the alarming prospect of water shortages, the Santa Clara Valley Water District — a government agency and the county’s largest water provider — is proposing to hire water enforcement officials to issue fines of up to $500 for residents watering so much that it runs into the street or watering lawns too many times a week or wasting water in other ways.

Not all details have been worked out. The water district’s board is expected to discuss the enforcement plan Tuesday and vote on a detailed ordinance on May 24 at its meeting in San Jose. If the crackdown goes forward as expected, it will be the first time in the agency’s history it has taken such a step.

“These trends are alarming. We are in a serious drought emergency,” said Aaron Baker, a chief operating officer of the water district, on Monday. “We are looking to take additional actions to help us meet the goals.”

California has had three years in a row of below-normal rainfall. Overall, 95% of the state is now in a severe drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, a weekly federal report. That level is similar to 2014 when the state was in the depths of its last drought, an emergency that began in 2012 and finally ended in 2017 with heavy winter rains.

But this time, Santa Clara County is in a more severe predicament than many other parts of Northern California and the Bay Area. Federal dam regulators in 2020 ordered the district’s largest reservoir, Anderson, near Morgan Hill, drained for earthquake repairs. The $1.2 billion job, which involves constructing a huge new outlet tunnel and essentially tearing down and rebuilding the 235-foot high earthen dam, has been plagued by delays and cost overruns and is not scheduled to be finished until 2030.

On Monday, all 10 of the district’s reservoirs were just 24% full. The agency has also been told it will receive little water from state and federal suppliers. It has been spending millions to buy water from Central Valley farmers with senior water rights and also has been pumping groundwater to make up the difference.

But this year, water sales are more scarce. And district projections show that without more conservation, groundwater could drop to dangerously low levels next year in Santa Clara County if the drought continues into 2023. That could cause subsidence, a condition where the ground sinks in some places, potentially breaking roads, building foundations, water lines and gas lines.

“We are looking to end the year at adequate groundwater levels,” Baker said. “But if we are unable to meet the call for conservation, groundwater levels will be below our subsidence levels, and wells will go dry in South County.”

Since last June, when the district declared a drought emergency and asked residents to cut water use 15% from 2019 levels, through March, the total cumulative savings has been only 3%.

Water use in Santa Clara County increased 30% in March 2022 from March 2019 levels -- missing a goal of 15% water conservation by a large amount. Cumulative water savings from June 2021 to March 2022 was just 3% compared with 2019 levels. (Source: Santa Clara Valley Water District)
Water use in Santa Clara County increased 30% in March 2022 from March 2019 levels — missing a goal of 15% water conservation by a large amount. Cumulative water savings from June 2021 to March 2022 was just 3% compared with 2019 levels. (Source: Santa Clara Valley Water District) 

The water district has asked the public to water landscaping no more than 2 days a week. Most of the cities in Santa Clara County have passed local ordinances requiring that. But some, such as Milpitas and Sunnyvale, still allow 3 days a week. Several others — Palo Alto, Mountain View and Stanford University — have put no limits in place on weekly watering.

More significant, cities and private water companies that have limited watering to 2 days a week have not enforced the rules.

“Fines aren’t the only thing we need to be doing, but they are an important component of a drought strategy,” said Heather Cooley, director of research at the Pacific Institute, an Oakland non-profit that studies water issues.

“There are individuals who may not respond to conservation requests,” she said. “And if people are allowed to waste water, that makes other people feel like ‘I’m not going to save because that person isn’t.’ It creates a culture of ignoring the requests.”

The Santa Clara Valley Water District already asks people to report if residents are watering lawns so much that water runs into the street or watering more than twice a week. They can call the district at 408-630-2000 or email [email protected] and the district sends a letter or puts out a door hanger asking the water waster to conserve. But until now, the district has not taken the additional step of issuing fines for repeat violators.

Data from the water district shows that many of the wealthiest areas are using the most water — much of it to water lawns during January, February and March, which were the driest three months to start any year in Northern California since 1849.

Click here to read the full article at the Mercury News

6 Million Southern Californians Face Unprecedented Order to Conserve Water

Unprecedented water restrictions are in store for about 6 million Southern Californians, a sign of deepening drought in counties that depend on water piped from the state’s parched reservoirs. 

The Metropolitan Water District’s board voted unanimously today to require six major water providers and the dozens of cities and local districts they supply to impose one of two options: limit residents to outdoor watering once a week or reduce total water use below a certain target.

The water providers must have plans to police their customers, and if they fail to impose the restrictions, they could face fines of $2,000 for every extra acre-foot of water that exceeds their monthly allocation limits, starting in June, according to Metropolitan.

The restrictions target parts of Los Angeles, Ventura and San Bernardino counties that rely heavily on water from drought-stricken Northern California rivers transported south via the State Water Project.

“At this time, a third of our region, 6 million Southern Californians in parts of Los Angeles, Ventura, San Bernardino counties, face a very real and immediate water stress challenge,” said Metropolitan Water District General Manager Adel Hagekhalil. “Today these areas rely on extremely limited supplies from Northern California. And there is not enough supply available to meet the normal demands in these areas.”

Cutting back outdoor watering to one day a week would be a big change for the arid, densely populated areas, where many people irrigate their lawns and gardens. 

Southern Californians have heard for decades about the dangers of drought, but per-person residential water use has increased in the past two years, despite the severe drought. Experts say conservation wavers in the region because restrictions are largely voluntary — and their water never seems to run out

“This is insane but not unexpected,” Peter Kraut, a council member from the San Fernando Valley city of Calabasas told the Metropolitan board, which is composed of 38 city and local district officials. “I’m appalled that a change this drastic is happening in such a short period of time.”

“This plan will result not just in brown grass but in killing countless trees. The damage to our environment will take decades to repair,” Kraut added.

Today’s mandate is the first outdoor watering restriction imposed by the giant water-import agency, which supplies 19 million people in California. More stringent restrictions may come later, Metropolitan officials warned: The water providers must also prepare to ban all outdoor watering as early as September, if necessary, as California suffers one of its driest periods on record.

The six affected water suppliers are Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, Las Virgenes Municipal Water District, Upper San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District and Three Valleys Municipal Water District — all in Los Angeles County — and the Calleguas Municipal Water District in Ventura County and the Inland Empire Utilities Agency in San Bernardino County.

About 13 million other Southern Californians are unaffected by the order because they aren’t as dependent on water imported via the State Water Project. They receive imports from the Colorado River, which largely are sent to Orange, San Diego and Imperial counties.

Metropolitan has been working to increase the number of customers who can receive Colorado River water to reduce reliance on the hard-pressed state aqueduct. The Colorado River, however, also is facing extreme drought, and deliveries to California, Nevada and Arizona are being cut back under an agreement signed by the states in December.

How much each agency must curtail customers’ water use under Metropolitan’s order depends on how much each relies on the state aqueduct compared to other sources, such as  groundwater or recycled sewage.

Water agencies are still figuring out the details. Some local water providers urged the board at today’s meeting to let them continue watering sports fields and parks more frequently so the turf doesn’t dry out.

Two of the six depend almost entirely on state aqueduct supplies — the Las Virgenes Municipal Water District, which serves 75,000 residents west of Los Angeles, and the Calleguas Municipal Water District, which supplies 19 agencies and cities in southeast Ventura County. 

Some communities served by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, Inland Empire Utilities Agency and the Upper San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District have other sources that may buffer the blow of the new mandate. Los Angeles DWP spokesperson Ellen Cheng did not respond to multiple inquiries about which parts of the city will be affected. 

Some of the affected agencies, such as Las Virgenes in Calabasas and nearby western Los Angeles County cities, already have cracked down on residents by imposing new escalating rates and penalties, with mixed success. Others, including Los Angeles DWP, which has limited outdoor watering to three days a week since 2009, have not added any new restrictions during the current drought.

Click here to read the full article at CalMatters

How Recent Rains Affected California’s Drought and Wildfire Season

Some good news on fire risk, but reservoirs didn’t see much new water

After the driest January, February and March in Northern California’s recorded history back to 1849, rains this past week finally brought some relief — and real benefits — across the Bay Area and other parts of the state.

But the wet weather was kind of like receiving wrinkle cream for your birthday, experts said Friday. Better than nothing. But not enough to celebrate.

Simply put, 2 to 3 inches of rain fell in the Santa Cruz Mountains, North Bay Hills and Big Sur over the past week. The Sierra Nevada received 1 to 3 feet of snow over the past week, depending on the location, the most since December.

That desperately needed moisture will delay fire season, experts say. It clears the air, boosts flows in streams for fish and wildlife, charges up the spring wildflower season and will reduce water consumption somewhat because people turn off lawn sprinklers when it is raining.

But California was heading into the third summer in a row of severe drought before the rain. And a few April showers — likely the last hydrologic hurrah until October — can’t make up for three years of major water shortages, experts noted.

“Any little bit is nice. But this is not going to make a significant difference in the drought,” said Jeanine Jones, interstate resources manager for the state Department of Water Resources.

The issue is basic math.

San Francisco historically has averaged 1.6 inches of rain for the month of April. This month, through Friday morning, it had received 1.08 inches. And no more significant storms are forecast.

In other words, the April showers this year haven’t even brought most parts of the Bay Area up to average for a typical April. It just seems like a lot because it’s been so unusually dry since New Year’s Day.

“Compared to January, February and March, it has been a really rainy month,” said meteorologist Jan Null of Golden Gate Weather Services in Half Moon Bay. “Everyone has been craving rain.”

“We’ve had so little,” he added. “It’s much more noticeable than it would be normally. It has risen up in people’s consciousness. But it’s too little, too late.”

A closer look shows just how badly the Bay Area, and nearly all of California, remains in a serious rainfall deficit.

In the 34 months since July 1, 2019, San Francisco, used as a proxy for the Bay Area because it has the longest-running set of weather records of any city, has received 39.16 inches of rain. The historical average for that time period is 67.77 inches.

In other words, San Francisco has received just 58% of normal rainfall for nearly the past three years and has a deficit of 28.61 inches, even when the latest rain is included. Put in context, that deficit is more than an entire average year of rainfall for San Francisco, which is 22.89 inches.

Click here to read the full article at the Mercury News

Are You Overdue on Your Water Bill in California? This Program Can Credit Up To $2,000

New guidelines were released in early April for a federally funded program meant to help low income families pay their outstanding water bills.

The Low Income Household Water Assistance Program is part of an emergency effort to respond to the economic impacts caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

In California, the Department of Community Services and Development is the designated agency responsible for overseeing the program. The finalized state plan defines the scope of the program and how it will be implemented.

PURPOSE OF THE PROGRAM

The state plan was introduced in order to help families pay off unpaid water bills that were accumulated before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the guidelines document, COVID-related wastewater arrearages — or bills that are overdue — across the state are estimated to total several hundred million dollars.

Californians face some of the highest living costs compared to other states in the country, and some low-income households, who have also taken a financial toll from the pandemic, struggle with paying for basic necessities like water.

The goal of LIHWAP is to reduce arrearages owed by low-income households and ensure they have access to safe drinking water and wastewater services. Around half a million Californians experienced water shutoffs in 2019, according to data collected by the State Water Resources Control Board.

WHO IS ELIGIBLE FOR LIHWAP?

Payments issued by LIHWAP will help households on a “first-come, first-served basis” and can be applied to residential water and wastewater services.

In order for individuals to benefit from the program, eligible households must use community water systems or other billing entities that are enrolled to receive LIHWAP payments. These companies directly receive the allocated assistance benefits and will determine which individuals and households are eligible for the payment using state and federal guidance.

Households with private water wells and septic tanks are not eligible for assistance.

Eligible households include those that make below 60% of the state median income. For households of one, this threshold is $2,564.73 per month, and for households of four, $4,932.17 per month, according to a table from the CSD website that tabulates income thresholds.

In addition, households with members who are recipients of CalFresh or CalWORKs may also qualify for the benefit. Other households that qualify for the benefit include those with a past due amount on a water or wastewater bill.

“Eligibility for LIHWAP services can vary depending on income, household size, place of residence, and other factors,” the website says.

The application for water and wastewater systems to receive LIHWAP payment assistance for financially challenged customers opened April 1. The interest form is available online.

For individuals wanting to receive financial relief, the customer application portal has not opened just yet. Local service providers will be reviewing which households are eligible for the one-time benefit as early as May, and no later than June 2022. This form will also be available on the CSD website.

Click here to read the full article at the Modesto Bee

California Calls For More Local Water Conservation

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Californians will be asked to further cut back on their water use, state officials said Monday as they warned water scarcity will shape the future of the drought-stricken state.

But those cut backs would come from cities and local water districts, not the state, with members of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration saying allowing local retailers to set conservation needs is the best approach in a state of nearly 40 million people where water needs vary.

“We live in a state that has many different hydrological zones, many different water usage scenarios and that one size fits all doesn’t really work in California,” said Jared Blumenfeld, secretary of the California Environmental Protection Agency.

Blumenfeld spoke to reporters after Newsom, a Democrat, issued an executive order outlining new actions aimed to reducing water use on the heels of a historically dry January through March. The governor has previously called on all Californians to reduce their water use by 15% compared to 2020, but it’s not a mandate and so far total savings sit at 6%.

Like much of the U.S. West, California is experiencing severe or extreme drought across most of its land. Though it rained Monday on both ends of the state, state officials offered a sobering assessment of the state’s water picture.

“How we protect this precious resource has to be baked into everything we do,” Blumenfeld said. “Our lives here in California are really going to be shaped by water scarcity going forward.”

Roughly 385 cities and other local water districts have to submit drought response plans to the state detailing six levels of conservation actions based on water scarcity. As less water becomes available, the local water districts adopt more aggressive controls that establish how and when people can use water. Those suppliers serve more than 36 million people, or more than 90% of the state’s residents.

Newsom’s executive order directs the State Water Resources Control Board to consider requiring those local suppliers to move to the second step of their conservation plans, which assumes water scarcity of 20%. About 140 cities and retailers are already operating at that level.

Level two restrictions vary based on the local district’s needs, but typically restrict when people can use water for outdoor purposes or include incentives for people to install more efficient appliances or landscapes. In Sacramento, for example, level two limits watering of public spaces like parks and cemeteries, orders people to turn off decorative water features like fountains and increases patrols for water waters. The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power would restrict outdoor watering, increase outreach to heavy water users and provide more rebates and incentives for water conservation.

“As important as conservation is to preserving our precious water supplies, we must emphasize that conservation cannot be our only response to the ‘boom and bust’ water cycles that are intensifying with climate change,” said Jim Peifer of the Regional Water Authority, an organization representing 20 water suppliers in the Sacramento area, in a statement.

Click here to read the full article at AP News

Intractable Problems? Are We Running Out of Water?

To put this series in perspective, I started with my observations from my time in the Legislature, which, by the way, are now 16 to 29 years old. My speeches would usually start with the observation that, in California, our freeways are overcrowded, our schools are failing our children, our housing costs too much, and we are running out of gasoline, water, and electricity. You would think that, if those who are in charge in Sacramento were serious about solving these problems, they could at least fix one of them in 29 years. Yet…here we are…29 years later, with the exact same problems, the exact same complaints, and the exact same excuses for why the Democrat majority in the Legislature haven’t solved the problems.

And Californians keep electing them, despite their excuses. We do get the government we deserve, and things won’t change until we get rid of the majority, and replace them with those who have a better idea.

So, let’s talk water. California has one rainy season, usually November through March, and then seven months of almost perfect weather (if you live in San Diego, it is absolutely perfect). We just came off of a time when we had record rain in December, then record dry two months in January and February, usually our rainiest months. The challenge in California is to catch the rain when it falls, and then store it until the months when it doesn’t rain, and then transport that water from where it falls (mostly north of the delta) to where the farms and people are (mostly south of the delta). We have known about this challenge since early in the 1900’s. According to legend, Mark Twain once observed that in California “whiskey is for drinking, water is fighting over.” And we have been fighting over water for what seems like forever.

Let’s get one issue off the table. Our droughts are not caused by global warming or “climate change,” California’s water issues haven’t changed that much since 1870 (as Mark Twain’s observation demonstrates), and the weather, the rainy season, has been pretty much fixed for that entire time. I remember droughts in the mid-70’s, from 1988-92, the mid-2000’s, and the late 2010’s. It’s predictable, about every ten years or so, we are going to experience two to four years of water shortages.

Since we know that, what has the Democrat majority (a majority that has been there for all of the last 50 years, except for 2 years in 1970-72 and one year in 1996) in the Legislature done about it? Absolutely nothing.

The solutions are simple, build more storage and build a canal from just south of Sacramento to just south of Stockton, in short, more dams and the Peripheral Canal. These solutions won’t solve all the problems, we will still have droughts from time to time, but they will lessen the impact of those droughts by catching the water in times of plenty, storing it until we need it, then transporting it to the places that need it.

So why haven’t we done that? In short, really stupid environmental regulations and the environut organizations that are vested in the status quo. The Democrats in the Legislature are beholden to these groups, to the point that they have had, over the years, serious discussions about tearing down dams, instead of building them. They have consistently opposed any effort to transport water north of the delta, where the water is, to south of the delta, where most of the farms and people are. As a result, the state careens from drought to drought, and praying for enough rain to get through each year. The Democrats who control the Legislature would rather make the people of the State of California suffer with government enforced water controls and high priced water than stand up to these environut organizations.

I once carried a bill for a golf course located about one quarter mile from a sewage treatment plant. The golf course wanted to use the water from the sewage treatment plant to water their grass. Good conservation effort, right? Except that golf course was by far the largest water user in the water district in which it was located, constituting one half of the district’s income. In California, if you can find cheaper water from a nearby source that is outside the district in which you live, you have to get the water district’s consent to buy that water. In this case, the sewage treatment plant was not controlled by the water district, so the district agreed to allow the purchase, but only if the golf course reimbursed the district for its lost revenue. All of the sudden, a good idea that would have saved millions of gallons of potable water became so expensive that it didn’t make sense any more. Just another way that California discourages conservation, if the water district loses money from conservation efforts, they just use their monopoly power to increase their revenue, either through increased rates or required reimbursements.

Only one new dam in the last 50 years, laws that reward monopolistic water regulations, no efforts to get the water where it needs to go, and California citizens suffer.

It wouldn’t take much to relieve the suffering of California families from these policies that increase the price of their water, just like it wouldn’t take much to relieve the suffering that our Arrogant Lazy Authoritarian in Chief, Gavin Newsom and his minions in the Legislature inflict on California families through government laws and regulations that increase the cost of gasoline and housing, but, just like those who benefit from the regulations enforcing expensive gasoline and housing, those who benefit from the current system would lose their cushy “do-nothing” high paying jobs.

We elected those who continue to relentlessly inflict this pain and suffering on us. We deserve it as long as we put up with it.

This article first appeared in its entirety on the Flash Report

With No Respite From Drought, Officials Call Upon Californians To Conserve Water

The start of this year has been the driest in California’s history. With the severe drought now in a third year, the state faces depleted reservoirs, a meager snowpack in the Sierra Nevada and a worsening water shortage on the Colorado River.

Under sunny blue skies in Sacramento, where it hasn’t rained in two months, officials stood Thursday in front of a mulch-covered garden and appealed for Californians to save water.

“We’re asking all Californians to step up,” said Wade Crowfoot, secretary of the California Natural Resources Agency. That means reducing water usage immediately and also taking steps that will help conserve in the long run, he said, such as replacing grass with drought-tolerant plants, or switching to water-saving appliances.

“Our drought conditions are becoming more threatening with climate change,” Crowfoot said. Warmer winters are reducing the snowpack that accumulates in the Sierra Nevada, he said, and hotter temperatures in the spring and summer “mean that more of that snow absorbs into very dry soils or evaporates into the air.”

In July, Gov. Gavin Newsom called for Californians to voluntarily reduce water use by 15%. Most areas of the state have fallen far short of that target.

The latest conservation figures for cities and towns across the state through December showed cumulative water savings of 7.5% compared with a year ago, and that’s “not going to be enough” in many communities, said Joaquin Esquivel, chair of the State Water Resources Control Board.

The levels of many major reservoirs in California, from Lake Oroville to the San Luis Reservoir, remain far below average. The snowpack in the Sierra Nevada, which feeds the state’s reservoirs, now stands at just 60% of average for this time of year.

Large water suppliers throughout the state have responded with drought measures including advertising campaigns that encourage conservation.

The state’s Save Our Water campaign, together with the State Water Contractors, released an animated video to spread the message. With the handwritten slogan “Doing your part” on a whiteboard, the video shares water-saving tips, such as installing drip irrigation systems, using a smart irrigation controller and taking five-minute showers.

The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California has announced it is spending an additional $10.5 million to expand its advertising campaign calling for the public to conserve.

“Our reservoirs continue to decline, and so we are really in a critical time to move on our efforts to fortify our water supply,” Adel Hagekhalil, MWD’s general manager, told the district’s board this week.

In announcing the expanded advertising campaign, Hagekhalil said the less water Southern California uses now, “the longer we can stretch these stored supplies into the summer and fall, and next year, if needed.”

Click here to read the full article at the LA Times

Seems Like Nothing Changes In Documenting Water Availability

Re “Here is the first step to a sustainable water policy”;

Good commentary and on the mark. But it’s discouraging to say that documenting the actual amount of water available is the first step to a sustainable water policy. This is the same step people have been saying for the 10 or more years that I’ve been tracking these issues.

Based on our legal counsel’s briefs, we blogged on our Save the California Delta Alliance website about “Paper Water” in 2013, reporting that the state had oversold water by five times the amount it actually had. The UC Davis study the writer refers to was in 2014.

Yes. The answers are appropriate water rights, addressing groundwater overdrafting, addressing Delta environmental issues via Delta flows, conservation, wastewater recycling and the retirement of impaired agricultural lands.

It includes doing what the Legislature dictated in the 2009 Delta Reform Act, namely moving toward regional self-reliance more than 10 years ago. Yet nothing changes.

Click here to read the full article at RecordNet.com

California Water Districts Will Get More Supply Than Planned

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Last month’s wet winter storms led California officials on Thursday to announce they’ll release more water than initially planned from state storage to local agencies that provide water for 27 million people and vast swaths of farmland.

The Department of Water Resources now plans to give water districts 15% of what they’ve requested for 2022. That’s up from last month, when the state said it would supply 0% of requested water beyond what was needed for necessities such as drinking and bathing. It was the first time ever the state issued an initial water allocation of nothing.

State officials stressed California’s drought is far from over and urged people to keep conserving water. But December storms that dumped heavy snow in the mountains and partially refilled parched reservoirs have provided some relief from what had been an exceptionally dry year.

Still, the state hasn’t seen a major storm yet this month, and most state reservoirs remain below their historic averages. The U.S. Drought Monitor shows much of California remains in severe drought.

“Dry conditions have already returned in January. Californians must continue to conserve as the state plans for a third dry year,” Department of Water Resources Director Karla Nemeth said in a statement.

California stores and conveys water across the state through a vast network of reservoirs, dams and canals known as the State Water Project. It works alongside the federally run Central Valley Project to move water primarily from the state’s wetter northern region to the drier south.

Click here to read the full article at AP

Merced Irrigation District Sues California over ‘Water Grab’ for Fish, Downstate Users

The Merced Irrigation District, a regional water authority in the San Joaquin Valley, is suing the State of California over a plan to divert water from the Merced River watershed to the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta for fish and downstate use.

As Breitbart News reported in 2018, the state’s Bay-Delta Plan aims to increase the amount of fresh water in the delta, also known simply as the “California Delta,” which has suffered from increasing salinity in recent years.

The Merced Irrigation District (MID) alleges that the plan is simply a “water grab” that will take water from local users and send it to the delta, to satisfy environmental interest groups — many of which have no connection to the state — and Southern California users.

The MID has conducted its own scientific studies to suggest that declining salmon populations in other parts of the state are not due to water diversion, but rather to the arrival of alien predators and other development activities, such as mining. The MID has also negotiated with the state in the past to provide its own salmon habitat restoration — while keeping the water.

But the state has decided to go ahead with its plan, though it has not yet said how much water it plans to divert from the Merced River, which is a tributary of the San Joaquin River that flows from the Sierra Nevada, including Yosemite National Park, through the rich Central Valley farmland before joining the main watercourse northward to the Delta.

MID officials have set up a “Save Merced’s Water” website to gather signatures from residents to stop the diversions from moving forward.

“Our perspective is we didn’t create [California’s] water quality problems,” [MID spokesperson Mike] Jensen said. “It shouldn’t be our responsibility to bear the brunt of fixing them.”

Click here to read the full article at Breitbart Local