Today, Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt responded to letters received from Senator Feinstein and other California Congressional leaders about operations of the state and federal water projects.

He wrote, “Rest assured that the Department of the Interior (Department) is continuing coordinated operations between the Central Valley Project (CVP) and the State Water Project (SWP) on a minute, hourly, daily, and weekly basis with the State of California (State).   Though it may seem strange, given the contentious circumstances in which we have found ourselves, we are nonetheless pleased that the State continues to participate with implementing actions associated with our 2019 biological opinions.  You have the Department’s full commitment that we will continue these meetings to implement the 2019 biological opinions.

Secretary Bernhardt continues:  “I agree with your long-held view of the need to improve California water supply reliability through enhanced Central Valley Project-State Water Project (CVP-SWP) operations.  It is my belief that a commitment to updated science employed in the proposed operations changes and biological opinions will lead to improved water supply reliability to millions of Californians, promote agricultural and industrial prosperity, and protect wildlife and other aquatic resources.  This has been the Department’s goal.  Obviously, the State has chosen to move in a different direction.”

He cites the actions the State has taken, saying the litigation is “ill-founded and potentially unlawful,” and notes there will be significant administrative and operational challenges, some of which have not been seriously contemplated for decades.  The result will be future water supply uncertainties for “the water supplies of over 35 million people, including numerous economically disadvantaged communities, farms, groundwater sustainability, and ecosystems depending on those water sources.”

Here is the letter to Senator Feinstein; the other letters are available below but all letters appear to be identical:

CVP Response to Sen. Feinstein


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