Fresno Judge Delays Water Decision

Fresno, CA- A Federal Judge in Fresno{}{}has{}delayed his decision on how much water to release from the Delta on Wednesday.

Judge Oliver Wanger{}{}decided{}Wednesday{}to{}hold off on making a decision over what form the injunctive relief will take, or if it will go forward, until Tuesday{}to allow lawyers representing the federal government and environmentalists to make their arguments as to how much, or even if any relief should be provided.

Federal lawyers maintain that{}operation of the pumps to send water from the delta south to southern California and the central valley, is{}a threat to endangered and threatened delta fish species.{}

Wanger acknowledged that he does not wish to see{}the fish harmed and that, in fact, the law is clear in its protection for endangered species, but that it is incorrect to blame the pumps alone for the risk to{}all the fish species in the Delta.{}Wanger noted that pollution in the form of ammonia and city waste dumped into the Delta also bear responsibility for the declines in fish populations.

State water providers have agreed to{}a{}20 day{}period, wherein the{}pumps would be operated at{}a higher{}capacity to see what kind of impact they{}are having{}on the fish.

It is hoped that the findings will provide insight into how much more water can be safely pumped from the delta without endangering fish.

Meanwhile, both{}Federal agencies seeking to maintain restrictions, the Bureau of Reclamation and the NMFS, continue to argue the pumps are the problem and hope to stop any future relief.

The increase in water{}from the pumps would serve as a major source of irrigation and drinking water for San Joaquin Valley Westside farmers and Southern California cities.