GRANTS PASS, Ore. — A federal judge ruled Wednesday that a federal water agency did not violate the law when it made special reservoir releases last year to help salmon in Northern California's Klamath River survive the drought, rather than save it for farms.


But U.S. District Judge Lawrence J. O'Neill in Fresno, Calif., wrote in his ruling Wednesday that the next time the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation wants to release Trinity Reservoir water for Klamath River salmon, it needs to cite a better legal authority.


The Westlands Water District and the San Louis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority in the San Joaquin Valley had sued the bureau to stop the releases, arguing the water should have been saved for farms facing the drought. Irrigation has been shut off to farms in the region this year.


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