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Lawsuits filed against Delta Plan

FRESNO — Several opposing groups have filed lawsuits against a broad, long-range plan to manage the ailing Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta that was adopted in May.

The four suits, filed over the course of the past month by environmental groups and water users, argue the Delta Plan does not fulfill its two co-equal goals of providing a more reliable water supply for millions of Californians and protecting and restoring the delta ecosystem.

Environmental groups say the plan would cause more water to be siphoned from the delta, causing further fish declines. Water contractors say the opposite would be true: that the plan would limit the water pumped, reducing water deliveries to cities and states.

Three of the lawsuits were filed on Friday, including two filed by environmental groups and one by the State Water Contractors. They follow a lawsuit filed by the Westlands Water District, one of the nation's largest water contractors, at the end of May.

In 2009, spurred by the delta's rapid deterioration and the curtailments imposed on water pumping, the state legislature created a council to come up with a plan to manage the estuary.

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