Statement of Friant Water Authority Regarding Denial of Temporary Restraining Order on Water Releases To San Joaquin River
The Friant Water Authority has issued a statement in response to the May 27 decision by U.S. District Judge Lawrence O’Neill to deny a temporary restraining order requested by the FWA and its member districts in connection with actions by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation to release water from Friant Dam to supply senior water the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation to release water from Friant Dam to supply senior water.
“The Friant Water Authority (FWA) is disappointed by the federal court’s denial of FWA’s request for a temporary restraining order. However, this is an interim ruling by the court and not a final decision on the merits, so FWA will still have a chance to prove its case when it gets its day in court.
The court considered each of FWA’s three claims. First, while the court acknowledged the considerable economic impacts of the loss of Friant’s water supply, it determined that FWA’s contract-based claims should be addressed by the Federal Court of Claims. Second, the court indicated that it is not convinced that the water supply owed to the senior water rights holders on the San Joaquin River have priority over the refuge water supplies mandated by the Central Valley Project Improvement Act. Finally, the court noted that the Department of Water Resources was an indispensable party to claims related to the Coordinated Operating Agreement, but the state could not be compelled to participate in the federal court proceedings and thus the federal court could not rule on this claim.”
The Friant Water Authority is a public joint-powers agency representing 21 water agencies that deliver Central Valley Project water from the San Joaquin River to more than one million acres along the southern San Joaquin Valley’s East Side.