The California Department of Water Resources and the Bureau of Reclamation have written a letter to the Deputy Director of the State Water Resources Control Board Division of Water Rights, asking her to use her authorities to order south and central Delta diverters to provide supporting information for their asserted water rights, as well as how much water they have already been diverted and are expected to divert.
“The Water Agencies submit that absent information to the contrary water stored and released by the State Water Project and the Central Valley Project and water acquired by the Project Agencies’ contractors through transfer and exchange agreements is likely being diverted by south and/or central Delta diverters asserting riparian and pre-1914 water rights,” the letter states.
The water agencies are alleging that there is a shortage in the natural flow of the lower San Joaquin River indicates that water is being diverted from other sources, presumably the Projects’ stored water or water contracted through transfer and/or exchange agreements, neither of which is available to southern Delta diverters. Additional irrigation demands by some members of Central Delta Water Agency also rely substantially on San Joaquin River flows which exacerbate the supply shortage already existing in southern Delta channels and likely result in further diversion from stored water, the letter states.
“Without additional information that the State Water Board has the authority under the emergency regulations to require, the Project Agencies and their water contractors are presumably injured by diversions in the Delta,” the letter states. “Therefore the Project Agencies respectfully request that the State Water Board exercise its statutory authority and obtain information from these Delta water users to support their assumed right to water or require curtailment as unauthorized diversions.”
Read the letter here: Drought USBR DWR letter to SWRCB on Delta diversions