Water Fight

Water Fight

This past month wrought some changes in California agriculture. President Trump authorized a plan that would divert water from the Sacramento- San Joaquin River Delta and into the Central Valley in order to plenish the Central Valley’s agriculture.
On its own, California produces 13% of the United States total agricultural output. Within that thirteen percent, the Central Valley, in itself, is responsible for 8% of the total agricultural output. The diversion of water to the valley would account for crop production and serve as a precaution in case of another drought. At the time of the order, California had not seen any rain in the entire month of February.
In response to the order, California is suing the Trump administration. The lawsuit is being handled by the State Attorney General Xavier Becerra, who, in response to the case, stated “California won’t silently spectate as the Trump Administration adopts scientifically challenged biological opinions that push species to extinction and harm our natural resources and waterways.” The state fears the plan’s potential effects on the endangered populations of delta smelt, chinook salmon, and steelhead trout from the area they intend to draw. As of last year, The Department of the Interior reversed its opinion on scientific findings that granted endangered species protections to various types of fish for the past decade. The decision made by this Department is the driving factor behind the water relocation.
Paul Souza, the Pacific Southwest director for the Fish and Wildlife Service, spoke in favor of the diversion saying, “We strongly disagree that the proposal will reduce protections for endangered species.” He also explained how the administration’s plan allows for more habitat restoration, upgrades in fish hatcheries and the water system itself, and the monitoring of species and other improvements.
In response to the lawsuit, Governor Gavin Newsom said, “Our goal continues to be to realize enforceable voluntary agreements that provide the best immediate protection for species, reliable and safe drinking water, and dependable water sources for our farmers for economic prosperity.” One thing is for sure, California must brace itself for a water fight.