Complaint TitleThe California Water Impact Network (C-WIN), the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance (CSPA) and AquAlliance filed a public trust lawsuit in Sacramento County Superior Court to protect Delta fisheries and water quality from excessive Delta pumping.

The lawsuit charges that the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) and the California Department of Water Resources (DWR):

  • Fail to protect public trust fishery resources
  • Divert water from the Delta wastefully and unreasonably
  • Use water from the Delta wastefully and unreasonably
  • Fail to enforce and comply with the State’s water quality laws
  • Fail to enforce and comply with the flow and water quality requirements of SWRCB’s water rights decision 1641, adopted 10 years ago
  • Fail to comply with the narrative fish doubling standard in the SWRCB’s 1995 Water Quality Control Plan.

Specifically, the suit charges that the huge state export pumps near Tracy in the south Delta kill thousands upon thousands of Delta smelt, young salmon and other species every year, at different times of year, and are the main threats to public trust resources in the Delta. Even a recent Delta flow report adopted by the State Water Board acknowledged that more fresh water flows into and out of the Delta to the Bay are needed for fish and other species to recover.


  1. C-WIN, CSPA, and AquAlliance File Comprehensive Lawsuit to Protect Delta Public Trust Fisheries by Enforcing State Water Laws (pdf)
  2. Verified Petition For Writ Of Mandate (pdf)
  3. Chronology: The Public Trust Doctrine & Bay-Delta Estuary’s Development and Decline (pdf)