09/24/2021

California cedes water to feds in Delta deal with Trump

Southern Californians could lose billions of gallons of water a year to Central Valley farmers under a deal Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration has struck with water officials working for President Donald Trump.

There’s no guarantee the agreement with Trump will accomplish what Brown’s team is seeking: a lasting compromise on environmental regulations that could stave off significant water shortfalls for farms and cities across California. A powerful state agency, the State Water Resources Control Board, hasn’t yet signed off on Brown’s compromise environmental proposal. Environmental groups have called the governor’s idea woefully insufficient to save ailing fish populations.

Brown’s administration also made a separate concession to the Trump administration on the governor’s controversial Delta tunnels project, to the dismay of environmental groups that oppose the tunnels.

The various deals began to come to light Wednesday, as the state water board, made up of Brown appointees, was about to vote on a plan that would take substantial amounts of water from cities and farms and leave it in the state’s rivers to assist struggling fish species such as salmon and steelhead.

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