The water wars really heated up this week in both the Klamath River and Sacramento River watersheds as agribusiness interests continued their campaign to squeeze every drop of water they could out of two systems where native salmon populations are on the verge of extinction.
On Thursday, May 27, a broad coalition of conservationists, California Indian Tribes and commercial fishing groups slammed a California Farm Bureau attempt to block resource agency requests that irrigators report water use and potentially obtain permits to withdraw water from the Shasta and Scott rivers, two of the Klamath River’s major tributaries.
“The Farm Bureau seems to have adopted a scorched-earth policy here,” said Glen Spain of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations (PCFFA), representing commercial fishermen devastated by recent salmon fishing closures. “Water is a public resource that also supports California’s valuable salmon fisheries and all the jobs those salmon support. It only makes sense for a public agency to keep track of the public’s water, and to take steps to minimize the impacts of water diversions on fisheries and other public resources.”