For immediate release Contact: Barbara Vlamis, Aqualliance (530) 895-9420March 26, 2010 Carolee Krieger, CWIN (805) 969-0824
CEQA Is Fundamental to Managing California’s Water
Budget demands would undermine core environmental protections
California’s landmark Environmental Quality Act is fundamental to the responsible management of California’s water supply. Prior to CEQA,
water law was defined mostly by litigation between privateparties over ownership of water rights. After CEQA, water users also had to explicitly consider theenvironment. Two landmark lawsuits show the importance of CEQA to areas of origin.-
The Owens Valley RestorationIn 1972, Inyo County sued Los Angeles over its management of the Owens Valley floor,and won a restoration water to the lower Owens Valley River. The Owens Valley watersupply is now jointly managed by Inyo County and Los Angeles.Mono LakeIn 1994, as part of the preparation of an Environmental Impact Report, the CaliforniaState Water Resources Board gave the order that actually put water back in MonoLake.
As California’s water supply becomes a commodity, CEQA will become
central to balancing the economicvalue of water with environmental impacts of water diversions. The largest diverter of water is theState Water Project, which sends water from Northern California via the Delta to cities in SouthernCalifornia. CEQA has been used to ensure that the SWP uses responsible assumptions in its projectionsof water supplies.