‘Better pay attention to your mail’

That’s some free legal advice from Delta water attorney Dante Nomellini.

Nomellini pointed out at a meeting last week that farmers or other water users who fail to respond to curtailment notices could face fines.

It’s true that the State Water Resources Control Board ultimately decided that senior water rights holders — those whose rights predate 1914, or whose land directly abuts a river — are not subject to emergency rules bypassing the normal curtailment process.

But those growers may still receive notices telling them to stop taking water. The difference is that the normal, lengthier appeals process will be available to them.

“We’re not out of it yet, but it appears there won’t be a slew of threats against the pre-1914/riparian water right holders until the irrigation season is over,” said another Delta water attorney, John Herrick. “That’s an optimistic view of it.”

Still, Nomellini added, “You’d better pay attention to your mail from now on. Anything that looks like it might relate to water could have a penalty associated with it” for failing to respond.

“…The excuse that my wife didn’t pick the mail up, or my husband got it in his pickup and didn’t look at it,” might not hold water, he said.

(That’s my pun, not Nomellini’s.)

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    Alex Breitler

    A native of Benicia, he lives in Stockton with his wife, Ann, who forces him to go backpacking in the Sierra Nevada or Trinity Alps at every opportunity. He has been writing mostly about natural resources since 2003, first in Redding and now in ... Read Full
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