Feds, state will move less water to users, including Westlands.

Posted at 06:05 PM on Wednesday, Mar. 31, 2010

By John Ellis / The Fresno Bee


Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta pumps will be ratcheted back today after a federal judge in Fresno rejected a request to keep them operating temporarily at current levels.

Wednesday’s ruling by U.S. District Judge Oliver W. Wanger means that for the next two months, both the federal and state water pumps will move much less water to users, including the Westlands Water District and the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.

It’s the latest loss for farmers and other water users in the decades-long battle over moving water through the state. That battle continues today when water users and environmentalists square off in Wanger’s court in what promises to be a pivotal case.

The seasonal cutbacks that Wednesday’s ruling allows are part of a controversial management plan for endangered spring-run Chinook salmon and Central Valley steelhead. Authorities say the pumps endanger juvenile fish heading out to the Pacific Ocean.

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