Wednesday May 25, 2022

The Modesto Bee

Assemblyman Adam Gray, D-Merced, is maneuvering against a bill that seeks higher flows on local rivers.

Assembly Bill 2639 would set a Dec. 31, 2023, deadline for the State Water Resources Control Board to complete its plan for tributaries to the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. They include the Stanislaus, Tuolumne and Merced rivers.

The decision would follow decades of wrangling over whether fish should get more water on the lower rivers at the expense of farms and cities.

The bill, by Assemblyman Bill Quirk, D-Hayward, also would bar the board from issuing new rights for water storage if the plan is not completed. This could complicate plans to add or expand reservoirs in watersheds feeding the Delta.

Gray has offered an amendment that would keep the measure from going into effect “if it was found to hurt the drinking water supplies of disadvantaged communities,” his staff said by email Tuesday.

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