State officials are expected to fight the Trump administration’s proposal to “maximize water deliveries” through the Central Valley Project to Southern California, including farmers in the Westlands Water District, the largest agricultural water district in the nation, says the Sacramento Bee.
The board of the largely agricutlural Westlands Water District voted 7-1 against taking part in Gov. Jerry Brown's twin-tunnel project "to remake the fragile estuary that serves as the hub of California's water delivery network," reports the Sacramento Bee. The decision, by the first water agency to vote on the project, is "a potentially fatal blow" to the $17-billion project.
An audit by the Interior Department's inspector general says the government improperly spent $84 million to help plan the mammoth twin-tunnel project to ship water to Southern California from northern parts of the state, reported The Associated Press. The audit said the expenditures meant the Bureau of Reclamation paid for one-third of the cost of project planning through 2016, when California water districts were supposed to bear the costs.
By a 3-to-1 margin, the Senate passed and sent to President Obama a water infrastructure bill that changes how much water is shipped to Southern California and San Joaquin Valley farmers from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. The bill was criticized by environmentalists and the fishing industry, reports the Los Angeles Times, and a court challenge is likely if Obama signs the bill into law.
A bipartisan water bill that includes drought relief for California could be put to a vote in Congress before the end of this week, said House and Senate leaders after agreeing on terms of the $558 million package. California Sen. Barbara Boxer said the bill tramples on the Endangered Species Act in order to divert more water to agriculture at the expense of salmon and the imperiled Delta smelt, said The Associated Press.