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Irrigation Districts Join Lawsuit

Officials at the Oakdale and South San Joaquin irrigation districts on Thursday announced they have joined with other members of the San Joaquin Tributaries Authority, SJTA, in a lawsuit that challenges the state’s right to arbitrarily increase flows in the Stanislaus and two other rivers.

Plaintiffs are OID, SSJID, the Turlock Irrigation District and the City and County of San Francisco.

At the heart of the lawsuit is the damage plaintiffs believe will be caused through the state water board’s plan to require 40 percent of unimpaired flows, with a range of 30 to 50 percent, between February and June.

The plan, according to the lawsuit, “will cause substantial losses to the surface water supply relied upon by the SJTA member agencies for agricultural production, municipal supply, recreational use, hydropower generation, and other things.”

The suit was filed in Tuolumne County Superior Court against the State Water Resources Control Board over the unimpaired flow proposal, adopted in mid-December.

“It’s the decimation of a large portion of agriculture in the middle of the nation’s most productive food belt that should concern everyone,” said OID General Manager Steve Knell.

Look for the full story in the Jan. 16 issue.