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Letter to David Bernhardt, Sec. of the Interior - Members Call on Interior, California to Work Together to Manage California Water Supply


Dear Secretary Bernhardt,

We urge your Department to work with the State of California to
preserve the longstanding practice of coordinated operation of California's State
Water Project and the federal Central Valley Project. The next few weeks are
likely the last remaining opportunity to achieve that outcome.

Continued coordinated operation is threatened by the conflict between the
federal biological opinions and the State's recently issued incidental take permit
(ITP) for the long-term operation of the State Water Project. Given the seriousness
of this challenge, we urge you to take advantage of what is likely the last
opportunity to work with the state and seek a solution to this impasse.

We know you agree that coordinated operation of the state and federal water
projects is necessary to ensure a reliable water supply for diverse uses throughout
California, including urban, agricultural, and environmental uses. Together, these
two projects provide water for an estimated 30 million Californians, nearly 4
million acres of the most productive agricultural land in the world, and many
ecosystems--including managed wetlands--on which fish, waterfowl, and
other wildlife rely. Historically, these projects have always been operated in a
coordinated manner, with each project meeting its individual purpose while
operating within a framework that enables both projects to jointly meet water
supply and environmental obligations.

Numerous water users, both urban and rural, have made clear to us that all
Californians stand to lose if the state and federal water projects are no longer
operated in coordination. This will reduce water supply certainty and deliveries
just as drought may be returning to California.

We believe this is a critical moment and look to your leadership and
Governor Newsom's leadership to resolve this avoidable problem. Please let us
know if there is any way we can help. Thank you for your consideration.