A new lawsuit alleges that San Francisco has been given unfair exemptions to restrictions on water use required by the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The lawsuit, brought by The Center for Environmental Science, Accuracy, and Reliability — a nonprofit linked to the "largest agricultural water district in the country" — says that farmers and residents in more rural areas of California like the San Joaquin Valley have been subject to "severe cutbacks" to protect the habitat of endangered fish species, while the Bay Area has not been required to do the same.
Aubrey Bettencourt of the California Water Alliance argues that the political clout of San Francisco is a source of the disparity: "California is a tale of two cities. If you added all the agrarian counties of California together in terms of registered voters, that's not even enough to offset either San Francisco or Los Angeles. There are not enough votes."