Recent developments propose significant changes to project operations that are not reflected in the modeling, they say
Several letters were delivered to the California Water Fix hearing team at the State Water Board yesterday saying that in light of the recent developments, the hearing cannot be finalized and the Board must now reexamine how or if the hearings can go forward.
Testimony for Part 2 concluded at the beginning of October. The hearing team has not yet announced whether more testimony is needed or if they will now move to closing arguments.
The letters point out that significant changes have occurred in the last few weeks related to the Delta and the California Water Fix that would affect operation of the project but are not reflected in the modeling that has been relied on for the hearing. Those changes include DWR’s withdrawal of the consistency determination at the Delta Stewardship Council, the renegotiated Coordinated Operations Agreement, the “no-harm” agreement, the potential watershed-wide voluntary agreement, and the recently adopted flow standards for the San Joaquin River tributaries. Each of these propose changes to reservoir operations, Delta flows, and Delta exports which have not been reflected in the modeling to date, the letters state.
“Only when the actual project proposed for operation under the petition has been properly described and addressed in the Hearing according to applicable water rights change procedures, should the Hearing proceed,” writes Osha Meserve in the Local Agencies of the North Delta, et al letter. “After the Petitioners provide information regarding the effect of these agreements on the petitioned diversions, the Hearing Officers may wish to request input from all parties on the scope of a Part 3 of the Hearing.”