In Case You Missed It: The Westlands permanent contract deal isn’t bad just for the Delta. More details on #BernhardtGate.

Neighboring water deal reeks of cronyism – Las Vegas Sun, 11/17/19

We are quoted in an editorial on Westlands in the Las Vegas Sun, which worries about implications for Nevada urban water users.

“For decades, Nevada has fought to update the 1922-vintage Colorado River Compact so that our state can receive its fair allotment of water from the river.   Now comes news of a sketchy water deal in California that should spur us into action.  The Department of the Interior is proposing to award a highly coveted water supply contract to California’s Westlands Water District, which Interior Secretary David Bernhardt previously represented as a lobbyist.

“Westlands Water District has used its outsized influence with Secretary Bernhardt to jump over other people to acquire water rights and guarantees that they shouldn’t get like this,” said Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, executive director of California water conservation group Restore the Delta, to Roll Call. “Bernhardt is like Santa Claus, handing out goodies to his former client.”

Read more here.

Column: Interior Secretary Bernhardt’s previous job raises questions about a deal for his ex-client – Los Angeles Times, 11/15/19

LA Times business columnist Michael Hiltzik worries about the Westlands deal too.

“What’s at stake in the deal is how much taxpayers will be on the hook for a water deal benefiting some of the richest corporate farms in the country, and how this proposed deal will limit the rights of competing water users in California, including fishermen and -women, industrial users, and residents statewide.”  

Read more here.

Calaveras River Plan Takes 14 Years to Keep All the Water – California Sportfishing Protection Alliance, 11/17/19

California Sportfishing Protection Alliance worked for 14 years on a plan for increased flows on the Calaveras River which has resulted in not one drop of additional water for fisheries.  It is worth noting that small algal blooms have been sighted on the Lower Calaveras.  Flows matter for urban communities and fish. Also this does not bode well for what we anticipate will be in Governor Newsom’s voluntary agreements for the Delta.

Read more here.

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