Here’s what you really should know about about the state water plan

Merced Sun-Star –

Many farmers are caught in a battle over the State Water Resources Control Board’s final Bay Delta Plan, released in early July, which proposes that dams release 40 percent of the natural flows in rivers to benefit the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta from February through June. Water shortages are the primary threat to agriculture in Merced, Stanislaus, and southern San Joaquin County.

“This has been falsely portrayed as a choice between agriculture and salmon. We can have both,” said Mike Jensen, spokesman for the Merced Irrigation District. “Further, this is about an entire community – from our water supply and water quality to the local environment and our economy.”

What follows is important information on questions posed by readers about elements of the water board plan, which could bring profound changes to the Northern San Joaquin Valley. The board could approve the plan following hearings Aug. 21-22 in Sacramento.

The proposed releases from Don Pedro, New Melones and New Exchequer (McClure Reservoir) dams will send water running past cities and farms to the Delta and San Francisco Bay, leaving far less storage in reservoirs for agriculture and cities.