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More Water Cutbacks Possible

Biological Opinion Could Cause Additional Pumping Restrictions

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Aired 6/4/09

The National Marine Fisheries Service released its biological opinion on the effects of the state and federal water projects on threatened and endangered runs of several fish species in California.

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Above: Environment reporter Ed Joyce speaks with San Diego Week host Gloria Penner about a recent water summit and explains why water rationing may become a way of life.

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Video unavailable. Read transcript below.

Above: KPBS reporter Sharon Heilbrunn asks whether we should be using so much water to grow grass in San Diego County.

Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta
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Above: Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta

The National Marine Fisheries Service released its biological opinion on the effects of the state and federal water projects on threatened and endangered runs of several fish species in California.

The study is intended to guide the protection of several species including salmon, steelhead and green sturgeon in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.

Kate Poole is with the Natural Resources Defense Council.

"It appears to be a significant step in the right direction to helping to restore these species," Poole says.

California Department of Water Resources Director Lester Snow says the department's initial estimates show the actions recommended in the study could reduce supply from state and federal water projects by 10 percent a year.

He says that's in addition to current pumping restrictions imposed by biological opinions to protect Delta smelt and other species.

Those restrictions and continued drought have brought mandatory water restrictions to San Diego and most other areas of California.

Snow says the opinion highlights the need for a comprehensive solution to the water and environmental problems in the Delta.

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