LOWER SAN JOAQUIN RIVER
Comment Period Extended For ‘Unimpaired’ Flow Plans
Water agencies along the lower San Joaquin River and its tributaries continue to keep close tabs on a State Water Resources Control Board proposal to impose new downstream flow regimes to reflect “unimpaired” river flows.
State Board officials recently extended a comment deadline to March 29 regarding the proposed changes.
As part of potential modifications to a draft Delta plan, the State Board on December 31 proposed that from February through June each year an average of 35% of unimpaired flow – as it would occur if there were no dams or diversions – from the Merced, Tuolumne and Stanislaus rivers be discharged down the rivers to improve conditions for spring-run salmon.
NONE FROM FRIANT
At this time, the State Board has not sought additional flows from Friant users because of Friant’s water contributions to the San Joaquin River Restoration Program.
Amounts of water now diverted for beneficial use that could be subjected to the new downstream release standards likely would be substantial. They would include water utilized for municipal and industrial purposes. Between 20%-60% of the San Joaquin River’s unimpaired flow could be affected.
Friant water users are committed to providing 15-20% of the Friant Division’s Central Valley Project water supplies depending on the water year type to San Joaquin River and salmon fisher restoration between Friant Dam and the Merced River confluence.
Flood releases would drive Friant’s water contribution even higher.