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California water release opponents suffer setback

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POSTED May 28, 2014 10:07 p.m.

FRESNO (AP) — Water will continue flowing from a reservoir east of Fresno for now after a judge rejected an attempt to turn off the spigots.

A federal judge ruled on Tuesday that the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation can supply water from Millerton Lake to wildlife refuges and farmers on the San Joaquin Valley’s west side while a lawsuit challenging the decision is pending.

The transfer began earlier this month and marked the first time in decades officials tapped the lake.

The bureau said California’s drought left them with no alternative way to meet contractual obligations to a major San Joaquin Valley water authority.

But growers on the valley’s east side sought a temporary restraining order, saying federal officials were not following a long-established water-rights pecking order. They tell the Fresno Bee they will continue fighting the release.

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