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Session will look at water contracts

Friday, September 18, 2009

Feds reopen talks after criticism from environmentalists.

Fresno Bee, Staff

Published January 14, 2006

Federal officials are reopening negotiations on the renewal of some farm water contracts after hearing critical comments from environmentalists and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The comments pointed out that farmland may be taken out of production in the future, yet the contracts do not allow flexibility to change the water supply numbers.

"We want to address that issue," said Bill Luce, area manager for the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, which runs the Central Valley Project.

A negotiating session is scheduled for 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday at the San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority Board Room, 842 Sixth St., Los Banos.

The contractors include Pacheco, Panoche, San Luis and Westlands water districts as well as Westlands Water District Distribution District No. 2.

The proposed long-term water service contracts are for the delivery of up to 1.38 million acre-feet of water per year via the San Luis Reservoir in western Merced County.

The contract renewals will cover the next 25 years.

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