Plans To Help Fish Will Diminish Summer Water Supply During Drought
Ryan Sabalow, Dale Kasler and Phillip Reese, Sacramento Bee write:
This year was supposed to be different. With Northern California’s reservoirs finally brimming and cities liberated from stringent conservation rules, farmers were expecting more water for their crops. The worst of the drought seemed over.
Or maybe not.
Despite a winter of fairly abundant rain and snow in the north state, federal fisheries regulators are considering a set of plans that would put Sacramento Valley reservoirs on a tight leash again this summer. Their aim is to prevent two endangered California fish species from going extinct.
Critics say two federal plans under discussion could cause another year of water shortages in farms and cities across the state. The Sacramento area’s main reservoir, Folsom Lake, could get drawn down below average levels once more, although the situation wouldn’t be as severe as last year’s record low.
But the plans would have human consequences as well. Holding more water behind Shasta would curtail water deliveries to Central Valley farmers at crucial times in the growing season. Letting more river water flow to sea could mean less water for farms and cities south of the Delta.