In the face of drought-reduced water flows, the State Water Resources Control Board has issued curtailment orders to 4,500 water-rights holders in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, including those in the Tracy area.
Banta Carbona and Byron Bethany irrigation districts are both feeling the impact of the curtailment order.
David Weisenberger, general manager of Banta Carbona, reports BCID has been curtailed from delivering Delta river water for the remainder of August, but water deliveries will be resumed Sept. 1.
He said the resumption of delivering water in September is based on the water-availability methodology of the South Delta Water Agency, and that efforts will be made in the future to improve ways of measuring water-availability.
At Byron Bethany, water deliveries to agriculture customers have been curtailed, but projections are that water will be available in September.
Water is continuing to be delivered to Mountain House, a BBID customer, but with a 20-percent reduction.
Russell Kagehiro, board president, said that Mountain House is in his district as a board member, and BBID is pushing for a curtailment exemption for Mountain House based on health and safety reasons.
Kagehiro also reported that a delegation from Byron-Bethany went to Sacramento Wednesday to meet with Michael George, the State Water Board’s watermaster for the San Joaquin-Sacramento Delta.
The curtailment orders are authorized by the Emergency-Curtailment Regulation adopted by the board Aug. 3 “to protect drinking water supplies, prevent salinity intrusion and minimize impacts to fisheries and the environment.”
Farmers pumping irrigation water from Delta waterways, Tracy area irrigation districts and the city of Tracy are among the total of 6,600 water-rights holders in the Delta.
Erik Ekdahl, deputy director of the Division of Water Rights, said everything will be done “to make compliance both straightforward and fair.”
“Curtailing water rights has an impact on livelihoods and economics, but it is painfully necessary as severe drought conditions this year and next could threaten health, safety and the environment,” he said.
The water board’s announcement indicated that the number of water-rights holders that have been directed to cease all diversions “may be adjusted throughout the fall as water supply in he Delta fluctuates and weather conditions change.”
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