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Fresno, Kings, Tulare Counties & Cities, Elected Leaders, Water Districts, Small Business Leaders Unite in Opposition to “Tulare Lake Storage & Floodwater Protection Project”

Semitropic Water Storage District seeks $452 million of Prop 1 funds for project that would jeopardize groundwater sustainability and “human right to water” in disadvantaged communities, lacks water right or entitlement to the water they seek to export


FRESNO – More than 40 local governments, elected officials, water districts, and small business leaders from Fresno, Kings, and Tulare counties have formally announced their opposition to a proposal from Semitropic Water Storage District known as the “Tulare Lake Storage & Floodwater Protection Project.”

The Semitropic project proposes to use the California Aqueduct to transfer naturally occurring water supply from the Kings Sub-Basin, one of the most critically overdrafted inthe State, to the Kern County groundwater sub-basin – even though the State Water Resources Control Board has determined that the Kings River is fully-appropriated, and despite the fact that Semitropic has no right or license to the fully-appropriated waters of the Kings River.

Semitropic is requesting $452 million of Water Storage Investment Project (WSIP) funds to cover 75% of their $602 million project by using money from Proposition 1.

At least 40 letters of opposition to the project were submitted to the California Water Commission prior to today’s hearing in Sacramento. (See list further below.)

Representatives from a number of the project’s opponents testified at the Water Commission hearing, citing their major concerns with Semitropic’s proposal:

By exporting water from critically over-drafted groundwater sub-basins, the Semitropic project would severely impact the ability of the Kings and Tulare sub-basins and its seven Groundwater Sustainability Agencies to comply with the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act.” – Mark McKean, Field Crops Commodity Chairman, Fresno County Farm Bureau

Fresno County, Kings County, Tulare County, and numerous cities within the counties, along with the Alta Irrigation District, Consolidated Irrigation District, Fresno Irrigation District, Kings River Water Association, Kings River Conservation District, and others that would be directly impacted by this project are all opposed to Semitropic’s Prop. 1 funding application.” – Craig Pedersen, Supervisor, Kings County

Depriving disadvantaged and severely disadvantaged communities of access to water and jeopardizing long-term sustainability – communities which already disproportionately suffer from poverty, high unemployment, asthma and heart disease, as well as air and water pollution – will only make already-difficult circumstances worse and threaten ‘the human right to water.’” –Ruby Dhaliwal, Mayor, City of San Joaquin

Semitropic does not have a water right or entitlement to the water they are seeking to take from the Kings River in their Prop 1 funding request, does not have any conveyance means or right to move Kings River waters to its project site, and its project site lacks capacity to hold water without using the California Aqueduct, which State Law prohibits in this situation.” – Steve Haugen, Watermaster, Kings River Water Association


Formal letters of opposition have been submitted by the following:

Alpaugh Irrigation District

Alta Irrigation District

Assemblyman Jim Patterson

Burrel Ditch Company

City of Fowler

City of Reedley

City of Sanger

City of Selma

Consolidated Irrigation District

Corcoran Irrigation District

Crescent Canal Company

County of Kings Board of Supervisors

County of Tulare

Cutler Public Utility District

El Rico Groundwater Sustainability Agency

Enzo Olive Oil Company

Farmers Water District

Fresno County Board of Supervisors

Fresno Irrigation District

James Irrigation District

Kings Basin Water Authority

Kings County Farm Bureau

Kings River East Water Sustainability District

Kings River Water Association

Laguna Irrigation District

Last Chance Water Ditch Company

Liberty Canal Company

Liberty Millrace Company

London Community Services District

Mayor of the City of Fresno

Mid-Kings River Groundwater Sustainability Agency

North Fork Kings Groundwater Sustainability Agency

North Kings Groundwater Sustainability Agency

Orosi Public Utility District

P-R Farms

Palomate Packing Company, Incorporated

Peoples Ditch Company

Raisin City Water District

Reed Ditch Company

Riverdale Irrigation District

Somach Simmons & Dunn

Stone Land Company

Stratford Ranch

Tranquility Irrigation District

Tulare Lake Basin Water Storage District

Upper San Jose Water Company