Thursday May 19, 2022

Daily Kos

On May 9, the board of the Metropolitan Water District (MWD), the largest water wholesaler in Southern California, voted to participate in what environmental justice and fish advocates describe as the “environmentally destructive” Voluntary Agreements (VA’s) currently being promoted by agribusiness and the Newsom Administration.

“These agreements are a work around to regulations that would prevent water agencies from diverting more water from the already strained San Francisco Bay-Delta,” according to a statement from the Sierra Club. “The vote was nearly unanimous and followed multiple heated discussions between board members and a biased panel conversation which included 3 pro-VA viewpoints and only one dissenting viewpoint.”

“The VA’s are an alternative process to the update of the Bay Delta Water Quality Control Plan, and are led by a group of special interests that have been negotiating in confidential meetings, without community engagement or transparency. They will ultimately cost the state millions and will not include adequate protections for survival of native fish or the protection of community health. Like the Delta tunnel and Sites Reservoir, the VA’s will take more water from the already strained region of the Bay Delta. 5 million acre feet more water than the ecosystem can handle is already taken out each year,” the group stated.

Sierra Club California and environmental justice groups have steadfastly opposed the VA’s by building public awareness of the environmentally harmful aspects of the agreements.

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