Agricultural water users in Sutter County have teamed up with the Glenn-Colusa Irrigation District to challenge Gov. Jerry Brown’s twin tunnels plan.
They filed a lawsuit Friday in Sacramento County Superior Court, challenging the environmental impact report prepared for the project.
The 60-page lawsuit was one of many filed in recent days as a legal deadline approached.
The complaints allege the project approval violates the California Environmental Quality Act, Delta Reform Act, California’s “Fully Protected Species” statutes and California Public Trust Doctrine.
The lawsuits challenge the proposal to build two 35-mile-long tunnels to siphon water from the Sacramento River and San Francisco Bay-Delta to send to Southern California, which could cost up to $67 billion.
The two giant Delta tunnels, both expected to be as wide as a four-story building is tall, would withdraw enormous amounts of freshwater from the Sacramento River to pumping plants in the South Delta. The tunnels could divert up to 15,000 cubic feet per second, on top of diversions from the existing Delta pumping facilities of the Central Valley Project and State Water Project.
Other suits were filed by Butte, Solano, Contra Costa, San Joaquin and Sacramento counties. Environmental groups also sued, along with other water users.
All of the cases are expected to be consolidated into one action that may takes years to litigate.
The GCID cases alleges the Department of Water Resources “has embraced the fiction that operations operations of California’s two massive water projects – the State Water Project and the Central Valley Projectect – will not change significantly with (the twin tunnels project) in place, particularly in relation to the release of additional stored water CVP/SWP reservoirs in Northern California for export.”
The project would have “significant impacts” to the petitioners’ water supplies, the suit said.
DWR “chose to bury the public in paper, producing a series of disjointed and largely incomprehensible documents based on a vague and ever-changing project description, incomplete and inaccurate data, and flawed analytical methods,” the suit said.
“The result was an EIR that improperly defers impact analyses and mitigation, fails to support many impact determinations with substantial evidence, and inadequately responds to key comments, among other flaws.”
GCID serves 170,000 acres in Glenn and Colusa County.
The Sutter County entities that joined GCID include Natomas Central Mutual Water Co., Meridian Farms Water Co., Oji Brothers Farm Inc., Oji Family Partnership, Pelger Mutual Water Co., Pleasant Grove-Verona Mutual Water Co., Henry D. Richter and Richter Brothers Inc., South Sutter Water District, Sutter Extension Water District, Sutter Mutual Water Co., Tisdale Irrigation and Water Co., Winship Land and Cattle Co., Biggs-West Gridley Water District, and Windswept Land and Livestock Co.
Colusa County plaintiffs also include Reclamation District 108, Carter Mutual Water Co., Maxwell Irrigation District, Princeton-Cordora Glenn Irrigation District and Provident Irrigation District.