SWP and CVP have low priority water rights.
CALIFORNIA WATER IMPACT NETWORK QUANTIFIES CENTRAL VALLEY PAPER WATER
Santa Barbara, Calif.– The California Water Impact Network (C-WIN, online at www.c-win.org) has completed a first of its kind analysis of Central Valley water availability compared to water rights claims and the priority of those claims. The water availability analysis was submitted as testimony for a 11/13/12 State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) workshop on amendment of the Bay-Delta Water Quality Control Plan.
The testimony by C-WIN Senior Research Associate Tim Stroshane documents the availability of water compared to water rights claims in the Sacramento, San Joaquin and Trinity rivers. The analysis shows that the Central Valley Project (CVP) and State Water Project (SWP) lack adequate water to back up promised water contract deliveries, illustrating the concept of “paper water.”
The paper water analysis concluded that water rights claims are over five times more than available water supplies for the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers, and nearly seven times more than the available supply for the Trinity River. The CVP and SWP have junior water right claims and clearly cannot provide full contract deliveries, especially during drought because other water users have superior water rights.
The C-WIN report clearly documents that claims to California’s water vastly exceed the actual amount of water available. The state and federal water projects are nearly last in line in terms of seniority of water rights, and are the most likely to be cut back in the event of decreasing snowpack, drought and dedication of water to meet the Public Trust, areas of origin and other beneficial uses. The State Water Resources Control Board has clearly not done its job to rein in paper water claims. It would be foolish for California to move ahead with a massive project like the Peripheral Tunnels based on paper water that doesn’t exist.
The State Water Resources Control Board’s web page on amendment of the 2006 Bay-Delta Water Quality Control Plan, including video links and written testimonies can be found at: here.