In response to recent allegations of unlawful diversions of water in the central and southern Delta, the State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) has scheduled a workshop for Wednesday, September 24 to discuss central and southern Delta water availability and use, as well as the process the State Water Board should use to resolve the matter.
At the beginning of July, the State Water Board adopted an emergency regulation that allows the Deputy Director of Water Rights to issue an order requiring pre-1914 and/or riparian diverters to provide information supporting their water rights if a complaint of unlawful diversion is received. At the end of July, the State Water Board received a letter from the Department of Water Resources and the Bureau of Reclamation alleging unlawful diversions of stored water by water users in the central and southern Delta who are claiming riparian and pre-1914 rights and requesting the Deputy Director to act. That was soon followed by letters by various parties either supporting or opposing the allegations, including a letter from the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance alleging the water projects themselves are unlawfully diverting water. All of the letters provide alternative views on the amount of water that is available to different water right holders, and can be viewed here: Bay Delta Water Rights Complaints and Information Requests
At the workshop, the State Water Board is interested in receiving input on the type of proceeding, such as a public hearing, case-by-case investigation, or regulation, that should be used to most effectively resolve the matter, as well as specific questions surrounding the amount of water available for diversion and use by water rights holders in the central and southern Delta. The purpose of the workshop is not to gather evidence or present arguments on the diversions themselves, but rather to receive input on the processes and questions that will pertain to subsequent proceedings, as well as future curtailment analyses.
The workshop is scheduled for Wednesday, September 24th, at 9AM. The workshop will be webcast. Written comments are due by noon on Monday, September 15 in order to be considered.