Interior Secretary Sally Jewell meets with tribal members earlier this month. Photo by Viv Orcutt, Hoopa Valley Tribe

Two major Central Valley irrigators yesterday asked a federal judge to stop emergency releases of Trinity River water designed to prevent a fish kill on the lower Klamath.

The Westlands Water District and the San Luis Delta-Mendota Water Authority charge that another fish kill is unlikely, and that they need the water more. From the motion:

Thousands of farmers in the San Joaquin Valley have been told there is no Central Valley Project water available for them this year, just none. All spring and summer they have pleaded with the Bureau of Reclamation for any small allocation that could mean survival for their dying orchards. They have been told no, there is no water to spare, the drought is too severe, that what little water remains in storage in upstream CVP reservoirs must be held for the protection of endangered Sacramento River winter-run Chinook salmon. They have been told that it cannot be helped, that their trees and crops, their livelihoods, their communities, cannot be spared from the consequences of a terrible drought, that sending them even 10,000 acre-feet would be “irresponsible.” Even Reclamation’s mandatory obligations to exchange contractors and wildlife refuges are going unfulfilled. But it turns out there is stored CVP water available for release this year after all, just not for them. On Friday, August 22, in response to intense political lobbying, Reclamation reversed a decision it made three weeks earlier, and announced it will make a discretionary release of some 30,000 acre-feet of stored water, and perhaps much more, to increase flows in the lower Klamath River.

Read the full motion here. It makes no mention, of course, of the 50,000 acre-feet of Trinity water that Humboldt County is guaranteed, as per contract, and which the county has never received. That fact may well come into play soon.