[env-trinity] FEDS PROMISE CENTRAL VALLEY AGRIBUSINESSES WATER THAT'S NOT THERE

Daniel Bacher danielbacher at hotmail.com
Thu Mar 17 16:01:17 PST 2005


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 17, 2005

CONTACT: Bill Walker or Renee Sharp, EWG, (510) 444-0973

VIRTUAL FLOOD:
FEDS PROMISE CENTRAL VALLEY AGRIBUSINESSES WATER THAT'S NOT THERE

OAKLAND, March 17 <caron> The federal government has promised Central Valley
agribusinesses it will increase the amount of taxpayer-subsidized irrigation
water by 44 percent over the next 25 years, well beyond what the state©ˆs
infrastructure can reliably supply, according to Bureau of Reclamation
documents obtained by the Environmental Working Group (EWG).

In a report released today, EWG said the Bureau©ˆs contracts with Central
Valley Project (CVP) water districts, which are currently being renewed,
promise an additional 1.5 million acre-feet of water a year. The idea of
expanding the CVP is not new, but the documents reveal for the first time
the scope of the Bureau's plans.

This much additional water can©ˆt be supplied without costly new dams or
severe damage to fish and wildlife. But in blatant disregard of federal law,
the contracts are being extended for 25 to 50 years without consideration of
the environmental impacts of storing and delivering the extra water.

"The Bureau and its CVP contractors are rushing to sign contracts that will
commit the federal government to delivery of water that doesn't exist,
commit taxpayers to billions of dollars in construction costs, and commit
California to a future in which most of its water is controlled by, and
managed for the profit of, Central Valley agribusinesses," said EWG Senior
Analyst Renee Sharp, author of the report, available at www.ewg.org.

For each CVP district, the report lists the current amount of CVP water used
and the amount promised by 2030.

Some districts, including the huge Westlands Water District, have been
promised hundreds of thousands of additional acre-feet of water, even though
the amount of irrigated acreage is declining. This will hand the districts
windfall profits from reselling their subsidized water at a higher price.

The increased supplies promised in the contracts also mean a huge increase
in the value of taxpayer subsidies to CVP recipients. EWG calculated that if
the Bureau delivers 5.1 million acre-feet subsidized at roughly the same
rate as in 2002, the value of the water subsidy in 2030 could be as high as
$640 million.

EWG urges Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and other California elected officials
to call on the Bush Administration for an immediate moratorium on the
signing of new CVP contracts until their impacts on water supply, water
quality and wildlife are adequately considered and all legal requirements
are met.



Bill Walker, Vice President/West Coast
Environmental Working Group & EWG Action Fund
1904 Franklin St. #703 Oakland CA 94612
t: (510) 444-0973, ext. 301 | f: (510) 444-0982
bwalker at ewg.org | www.ewg.org

Sign up for EWG©ˆs monthly newsletter:
http://www.ewg.org/about/addemail.php




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