Byron, CA (July 25, 2022) – Due to recent State Water Resources Control Board (State Board) actions, the Byron-Bethany Irrigation District (“BBID” or “District”) is advising its customers of potential future curtailment of the District’s water rights, which may come this summer.
At its regular July meeting, the State Board approved and adopted a revised Emergency Regulation regarding water use and curtailment in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta watershed. The revised Emergency Regulation will now be considered by the Office of Administrative Law (OAL) before it becomes law. If enacted, the revised Emergency Regulation will likely lead to another, deeper round of curtailments in mid-August. We anticipate such curtailments reaching BBID’s post-1914 right, serving the West Side Service Area, as well as BBID’s pre-1914 senior water right, serving the Byron and Bethany service areas.
Earlier this month and in the span of less than one week, the State Board issued, then rescinded curtailment with little notice and no explanation.
Before the State Board rescinded the last curtailment order, BBID’s legal team filed a request for a Temporary Restraining Order, arguing the order was issued without due process and is not supported by adequate evidence. BBID also argues the methodology used by the State Board to determine water unavailability is fatally flawed, and cannot support curtailment of BBID’s water rights. Since last summer, and on numerous occasions, the District’s team of legal, engineering, and hydrology experts offered comments and possible solutions to the State Board to refine the methodology and improve its accuracy. Despite these comments, and those made by other Delta stakeholders, significant problems remain with the methodology and it remains unsuitable for determination of curtailments in the Delta.
The District’s TRO is still pending before a Sacramento County Superior Court, and the hearing on it is scheduled for next week—July 29. If the judge grants BBID’s request, future curtailments this summer are unlikely. This, however, depends on the relief the judge provides. The District commits to providing additional updates with any developments in this rapidly evolving situation.
In the meantime, BBID continues to secure alternative water supplies and vigorously defending its water rights.