The report estimating the cost of restoring the San Joaquin River was prepared in 2005, before the parties privy to the lawsuit — the Friant Water Users Authority and the Natural Resources Defense Council — negotiated the settlement. The report looked only at the possible impacts of water losses in Friant resulting from fishery restoration flows. It did not look at efforts to avoid water reductions in the Friant service area.
But the fact is that under the settlement, Friant can purchase extra water from the federal government at low cost ($10 per acre-foot) when it is available.
Additionally, Friant is examining projects to limit water supply reductions. These include building groundwater banking and recharge facilities, constructing facilities to link the separate water distribution systems of Friant districts, and increasing the capacity of major water conveyance facilities.
We expect many projects like these to be in place before full restoration flows begin in 2014. This can help put us on the road to restoring the San Joaquin into a living river.
Dianne Feinstein, U.S. Senate (D-Calif)
George Radanovich, U.S. House of Representatives (R-Calif.)
(Feinstein and Radanovich are co-sponsoring legislation to provide federal funding the river restoration)