You are hereNo, this is not a Westlands lawsuit

No, this is not a Westlands lawsuit

August 30, 2010
Over the weekend, someone asked me if the lawsuit against the effects of the San Joaquin River restoration was filed by Westlands Water District farmers.


The Wolfsen family in the Los Banos area filed the claim for damage from flooding and seepage. They are definitely west siders, but they are not making a claim as Westlands farmers.

They have historic rights to water from the San Joaquin River. Their cattle and farming operations were there before Friant Dam was built. There are many area farmers in similar situations -- these farmers have about 240,000 acres.

Like Westlands, they do have a connection to the federal Central Valley Project. But their water contracts are different from Westlands' contract.

In the 1930s, the historic rights farmers, like the Wolfsens, agreed to exchange their rights for water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, so Friant Dam could be built.

The so-called "exchange contractors" have a much higher priority than Westlands, often receiving 100% allotments when Westlands and other districts must accept big cutbacks.

But the river next to the exchange contractor's farms dried up.

Now, with the restoration project, the river is wet again. After six decades, it's hard to know where the seepage and flooding will take place as the water rises in the river channel. The Wolfsen family's claim says there has been damage.

Posted by Mark Grossi at 8:22 AM

Revive the San Joaquin News

Receive periodic updates and event announcements.