Lawsuit Filed Challenging State Agencies’ Management of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Fails to Protect the Public Trust

On September 7, 2010, the California Water Impact Network (C-WIN), the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance (CSPA) and AquAlliance filed suit in Sacramento County Superior Court alleging that the State Water Resources Control Board and the California Department of Water Resources have failed to protect the public trust in their enforcement of water quality and fishery protection laws and in decisions to export water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.  The public trust doctrine was the basis of litigation in the 1970s and 1980s concerning water diversions from Mono Lake at issue in National Audubon Society v. Superior Court (1983) 33 Cal.3d 419.  In bringing their action under the public trust doctrine, the plaintiffs seek, among other things, to enjoin the Department of Water Resources from diverting water from the Delta and the State Water Resources Control Board from allowing operation of the Delta pumps until the alleged violations of fishery and water quality laws and regulations are remedied.  In June 2010, the same plaintiffs filed suit against the Department of Water Resources challenging the EIR prepared for contractual amendments (the “Monterey Amendments”) to the State Water Project.