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Judge Stops Water

photograph from Services story

(3/26/2007)

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Rivers can serve many purposes. Some are habitats for many different kinds of fish. They offer people a place to spend time on the water. They help irrigate crops. One river even provides drinking water for people. Twenty-three million people get their water from this river. The river water is valuable to everyone in the state. Now there is a conflict between the fish who use this river and the humans who get their water from it.

In order to use the water for drinking, the water must go through a pumping station. The pumps suck in large amounts of water and move it to an aqueduct. From there it goes on to treatment plants to be cleaned for drinking.

Two species of fish migrate in this river. Migrating means they travel through the river on their way to breed. The salmon and smelts are endangered. The state is required to protect the fish populations. A law called The Endangered Species Act protects the fish. A group of citizens are concerned about the fish. They say that the state is not following the law. They claimed that the fish were getting sucked into the pumping station. They said the fish populations were being damaged. The group has decided to sue the state.

In response, a judge has said the state must stop pumping water from the river. He has given them sixty days to decide whether to comply with the Endangered Species Act. If the state decides to comply, they will be allowed to continue pumping. If they don’t, they will have to stop using water from the river.

This could be a problem for many people in the state. Humans need the water for drinking and watering crops. But the laws were designed to protect the wildlife that lives in and around the river. It will be a difficult decision for the state to make.

(This was adapted from an original story provided by News10 KXTV Sacramento.)

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