With California's major reservoirs at woefully low levels, state and federal water agencies are making a pitch to keep more water behind their dams this month.
The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and state Department of Water Resources say they need to store as much water as they can to ensure enough for salmon, cities and farmers later this year.
Keeping that water, though, means the agencies must be granted an emergency petition that allows weakening water-quality standards in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. The state releases from reservoirs each February to improve delta water quality.
Legal arguments on the petition were being heard Tuesday before the State Water Resources Control Board.
State water attorney Cathy Crothers says water managers are struggling to shore up supplies as California experiences a third year of below average rain and snowfall.