San Francisco Challenges Conditions Imposed by State Water Resources Control Board on the City’s Water Quality Certification Issued for Projects on the Tuolumne River

July 2021

California Water Law & Policy Reporter, Volume 31, Number 10

On May 13, 2021, San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera filed a lawsuit in Tuolumne County Superior Court against the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) to challenge the SWRCB’s January 15, 2021 decision to issue a water quality certification pursuant to section 401 of the federal Clean Water Act (CWA). The SWRCB’s certification requires greater flows in the Tuolumne River to protect salmon and requires San Francisco and other entities with projects on the Tuolumne River to reduce the amount of water they divert from the Tuolumne River. Several projects are impacted by the certification, including the Hetch Hetchy Regional Water System, which provides water to San Francisco and other Bay Area counties. Modesto Irrigation District (MID) and Turlock Irrigation District (TID) joined the lawsuit as real parties in interest over similar concerns that the SWRCB’s certification would reduce the flow of water from the Tuolumne River to the Don Pedro and La Grange hydroelectric projects. [City and County of San Francisco v. California State Water Resources Control Board, (Tuolumne Cnty Super Ct.).]

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