After several years, the State Water Resources Control Board released the long-anticipated Bay Delta Plan environmental document in September. This plan calls for significant diversions of Merced River water away from eastern Merced County and sends it north toward the San Francisco Bay Delta for the purported benefit of salmon, water quality and agriculture.
This water would normally be stored in MID’s Lake McClure for use in eastern Merced County. The State’s diversion of water will have a devastating impact on local groundwater quality used by cities, rural residents and farmers alike, as well as cause peripheral harm to our local environment. It will cost our economy more than $230 million in economic activity and nearly 1,000 jobs.
The District has long advocated a more responsible, comprehensive approach to increased salmon production on the Merced River through vital habitat restoration, predation control and more appropriate flow regimes. In direct response to the state plan, MID is proposing, The Merced River S.A.F.E. Plan: a comprehensive alternative proposal aimed directly at supporting salmon, agriculture, local water quality and the environment. The state’s plan is simply unacceptable: without an alternative comprehensive approach solution – which recognizes the importance of our local water source and agriculture – years of regulatory and legal challenges are sure to ensue.