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Central Delta Water Agency v. Bureau of Reclamation

ELR Citation: 36 ELR 20094
Nos. No. 04-16632, (9th Cir., 05/22/2006)

The court upholds the dismissal of local water agencies' claims that the Bureau of Reclamation (Bureau) was operating the Central Valley Project (CVP) in a manner that would at some point in the future violate the Vernalis salinity standard, a state standard with which the Bureau must comply in its operation of the CVP. Not only has there been no violation of the salinity standard in the past decade, the agencies failed to raise a genuine issue of material fact as to whether the Bureau would fail to comply with the standard in the foreseeable future. Although models predict that the Bureau's operating plan will likely result in future violations of the salinity standard, the Bureau concedes that it is required to violate the plan if necessary to provide flows sufficient to lower the salinity of the water to the levels required by the Vernalis salinity standard. It has done so in the past, and nothing in the record suggests that it will not continue to do so in the future. The court, therefore, affirms a lower court's grant of summary judgment in favor of the Bureau.