Federal System

Local water districts feel cheated by ‘exchange’

 •  by Lois Henry
This article is originally from The Bakersfield Californian.

Oh, the fascinating stuff our protracted drought is revealing.

I’m not talking about tires and old town foundations at the bottom of California’s reservoirs.

This drought is also putting long-held assumptions about water rights under intense scrutiny.

In this instance, a dispute over how the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation has administered a contract spanning more than two generations could upend what have been thought to be “the best water rights in California.”

Those are the rights belonging to the San Joaquin River Exchange Contractors.

To give you an idea of how good these rights are, the Exchange Contractors were just about the only districts on either the state or federal projects that got anywhere close to their water allotment last year.

That came at a price, though.

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Lois Henry
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