Feds to evaluate rates charged for Delta water

Published: Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 2B

The federal government is reviewing how much its clients pay for water pumped out of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, and will update the public on the process on Nov. 16 in Sacramento.

The Central Valley Project diverts water from the Sacramento, American and other rivers through the Delta to numerous water buyers – mostly farmers in the San Joaquin Valley. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, which operates the system, charges fees to water and energy buyers for costs to operate the network of dams, pumps and canals. Other costs fall to taxpayers at large.

For the first time since 1975, Reclamation is reviewing the way these costs are allocated. The result could mean higher water rates or a larger share covered by taxpayers. One goal is to cover increased costs in areas such as Endangered Species Act requirements to protect sensitive fish species.

"It has everything to do with how much the public pays and how much water and power customers pay," said Tom Stokely, policy analyst at the California Water Impact Network. "It's extremely important and it can be easily overlooked."

The Central Valley Project Cost Allocation Study will not be completed until 2017. Reclamation will update the public at a meeting on Friday, Nov. 16, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Federal Building, 2800 Cottage Way, Sacramento.

For information, contact project manager Brooke Miller-Levy at bmillerlevy@usbr.gov or (916) 978-5296, or visit the project website at http://ht.ly/f4xv5.

– Matt Weiser

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