Merced Irrigation District fights back: lawsuit planned over Bay-Delta water plan


Leaders in Merced County are furious at the latest water plan passed by the State Water Board. So much so, that the Merced Irrigation District is planning to sue.

The SWB passed the Bay-Delta water quality control plan last Wednesday. The plan calls for 40-percent of runoff from the Merced River, Stanislaus River and Tuolumne River to flow straight to the Bay Area.

The goal is to increase the salmon population and improve water quality in the delta.

MID general manager, John Sweigard, said that loss of water to the Merced River will have huge, harmful ripple effects to their communities.

“We’re going to lose thousands of family supported jobs and well over $230 million in lost economic activity — just in the Merced Irrigation District alone,” said Sweigard.

Another big concern is the decrease in groundwater, which the county is dependent on for drinking. That’s where things get personal for Merced Mayor Mike Murphy. The city’s 20 wells depend on the surface water produced by the river.

“We need to have safe, reliable, clean drinking water for the residents of our city,” Murphy said. “Our residents also depend on jobs that are in the agricultural industry. We’ll get hit from both sides.”

Sweigard said MID is by no means against the aim of the plan, he’s actually for the goals it aims to achieve. He just feels the ones responsible for the issues it’s trying to remedy aren’t being asked for their water.

“If they’re going to ask us for something, they need to ask everybody for something,” Sweigard said. “We’re willing to do our part, but other people need to do their part, too.”

When asked for comment about this, a spokesman with the State Water Board said the agency doesn’t comment on pending or potential litigation.

For more information on the Bay-Delta plan, look at the following links:

The MID has created a website for their own alternative to the Bay-Delta plan, find it below:

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July 23 2021 05:30 pm

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