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How Does More Rain in Northern California Equal Less Flows in the San Joaquin River?

Water has been flowing down the San Joaquin River since the beginning of April. But, ironically, late spring rains could halt the flow.

The water coming out of Millerton Lake just above Fresno is flowing because of a contract within California’s complicated water rights system.

Court Rules Federal Government Didn’t Stiff Fresno, Other Water Users During Last Drought

The federal government did not breach its contract when it gave water users, including the city of Fresno, a zero water allocation in the extreme drought year of 2014, according to a ruling issued June 6 in Federal Claims Court.

It may not seem fair, Judge Armando Bonilla wrote in his ruling, and “To be clear, a zero allocation for the Friant contractors was harsh,” but the fact is the Friant division of the Central Valley Project is outranked by superior water rights held by the San Joaquin River Exchange Contractors.