Byron, CA (August 25, 2022) – The Byron-Bethany Irrigation District (“BBID” or “District”) has an important update for its customers: as of this posting, the District’s water rights are not curtailed, meaning water deliveries will continue as normal.
Back in July, the State Board approved and adopted a revised Emergency Regulation regarding water use and curtailment in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta watershed. It was anticipated the revised Emergency Regulation would lead to new 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.
However, BBID’s water rights were not included in a new round of curtailments announced this week. In an update, the State Water Resources Control Board said, in part:
“After consultation with and the concurrence of the Delta Watermaster, and consistent with the technical assumptions regarding water unavailability in the Legal Delta outlined in methodology documents released on June 27, 2022, curtailments remain in place for certain rights within the Legal Delta. Although the methodology indicates that water is unavailable for appropriative water right holders in the Legal Delta with a priority date of 1908 or later, curtailments in the Legal Delta will remain unchanged pending further discussion between the Division of Water Rights and the Office of the Delta Watermaster.”
Earlier in July and in the span of less than one week, the State Board issued, then rescinded curtailment with little notice and no explanation.
Before the State Board rescinded the last curtailment order, BBID’s legal team filed a request for a Temporary Restraining Order, arguing the order was issued without due process and is not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 in the Legal Delta 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.
As this evolving situation unfolds, the District will continue providing regular updates to ensure customers are informed. In the meantime, BBID continues to secure alternative water supplies and vigorously defend its water rights.