The Tuolumne River Trust is working hard to stop a proposed water transfer (sale) of 2 million gallons of water per day (mgd) from the Modesto Irrigation District (MID) to the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC). The transfer could harm the middle stretch of the Tuolumne River, and might lead to a much larger transfer of 22 mgd.
Please visit http://www.tuolumne.org/notransfer and send an email to the SFPUC encouraging them to terminate negotiations for the water transfer and instead focus on water conservation and recycling to meet their needs.
In March, TRT submitted extensive comments to the SFPUC, and in response they temporarily put the contract on hold in order to respond to our concerns (28 pages). Farmers in the Central Valley and the City of Modesto have also expressed strong opposition, leading to further delays. MID is now expected to vote on the contract on July 24th, 2012 followed by action from the SFPUC on August 14th.
We're advocating for increased water conservation and recycling to meet future demand, and the substantial decline in recent water use has strengthened our position. In 2008, when the transfer was studied, the SFPUC and its customers used over 250 mgd. Las year, demand dropped to less than 220 mgd. Future demand projections are also way down.
The SFPUC wouldn't need the water for many years, if ever, so it would be irresponsible to pay $1.5 million per year through a "take-or-pay" contract for water that would go unused most years.
If extra water is available, TRT believes it should go to improving conditions in the Tuolumne. Summer flows in the lower Tuolumne are now below 100 cubic feet per second, and people have found dead steelhead trout - a threatened species - in the River. In some spots, our paddlers had to drag their boats through shallow stretches of the River during Paddle to the Sea.