A federal judge has denied a request by irrigation suppliers in California's Central Valley to stop emergency water releases intended to help salmon hundreds of miles away in the Klamath Basin survive the drought.
U.S. District Judge Lawrence J. O'Neill in Fresno, California, on Wednesday denied the temporary injunction sought by Westlands Water District and the San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority.
At issue is water in a reservoir on the Trinity River in Northern California, which has long been shared with farmers in the Central Valley.
The judge ruled that the potential harm to salmon from drought conditions right now outweighs the potential harm to farmers next year.
The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation ordered the releases to prevent a repeat of a massive fish kill in 2002.