Wednesday, July 30, 2014
PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

My Turn: Water wars

By
From page A4 | July 17, 2013 |

The Delta is starving for water, so California officials setup a plan to take more water out of the delta. How does make any sense?

California has had a long history of water wars, with many battles, and once again the state is gearing up for another fight.

The latest “new” Delta plan was released on May 16 and so far five lawsuits were filed and probably more to come.

The Delta Stewardship Council says their plan meets the “coequal” needs of those depending on delta water and provides “reliability” for water contractors.

The main part of the council’s plan consists of tapping into the Sacramento River and shipping its fresh water down to the industrialized farms on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley. These contractors were originally the lowest priority to receive delta water, but somehow that has changed.

The council was given the task to make sure that these water deliveries do not destroy the delta. That is nearly impossible because there’s not enough fresh water.

The state and federal officials promised the contractors more water than what Northern California rivers can provide. We don’t have enough water now. That’s why the council is calling it a crisis.

In addition, it’s difficult to pin down the final cost of the plan with so many state officials quoting different numbers. They’ve quoted the price ranging from $24 to $54.1 billion.

The “water reliability” side of the plan is the construction of two tubes, 40 feet wide, 150 feet underground carrying fresh water for 35 miles through the middle of the Delta to the existing Tracy pumps. That’s deeper, longer and wider than the $45 billion New York Subway project.

The “environmental” side of the plan wants to expand the delta to provide more habitat. This part will be paid by the 2014 Water Bond and will provide $11 billion to restore the delta and the state’s various infrastructure improvements.

Repairs to California’s infrastructure is what we really need.

The first lawsuit was filed on May 24 by Westland’s Water District — the main recipient of 9,000 cubic-feet-per-second of fresh water that these tubes will provide.

Westlands is a privately owned business. Their customers are not small farmers. They haven’t had any farms of 160 acres or less since 1978. According to the Interior Department task force, not one single farm in Westlands district is smaller than 3,000 acres, and their farms sit in an alkali dessert.

These Westlands farmers need large volumes of water to flush out the toxins in the soil just to grow crops such as cotton and grains. Close to 50 percent of their profits come from taxpayers in the last 10 years because there is little or no market for these products.

They do not grow table fruits or vegetables that have a high rate of return because the soil is so toxic.

Westlands believes the 2009 Delta Restoration Act released them from any responsibility to the Delta’s health.

This act was slammed through by both state houses in a short 13 days with little or no discussion. They left it to the council to figure it out what to do.

The Delta Stewardship Council says its main focus is on “Coequal” goals and “Water reliability.”

Before the act, the state had a responsibility to the Delta’s health. That was its highest priority. Only after that was assured would the state address the water contractor’s needs.

Now, according to the Westlands lawsuit and hearing some statements made by various state water officials, I wonder if the Delta’s health has a higher priority anymore.

The another lawsuit was filed on June 17 by fishing, environmental and farming groups who depend on the Delta’s health for their livelihood.

The Delta farmers joined with the many environmentalists because they need fresh water to grow their crops. Too much water pulled out of the Delta by these tubes would bring brackish water up to their pumps.

The Delta agribusiness and environmentalist’s lawsuit objects to the council’s indifference toward accepted science by not even looking at the environmental reports that are required by the 2009 legislation. They believe the council did this so they can justify the expense of this project.

California had a quiet period for a few years, but it appears with the battle swords drawn and documents filed, we’re in for a another long fight.

Pat Snelling ran for the board of the Georgetown Divide Public Utility District last year and is a resident of Garden Valley.

Comments

comments

.

News

 
District 2 candidate statements tell of goals

By Dawn Hodson | From Page: A1

Sand Fire nears containment: 66 structures destroyed

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Tails wagging over dog park approval

By Julie Samrick | From Page: A3

Quarter-acre fire in Kelsey

By Rebecca Murphy | From Page: A3

 
Schedule for Highway 50 blasting closures

By News Release | From Page: A3

.

Opinion

My Turn: Privatization of public services

By Mark Belden | From Page: A4

 
Policy book

By Mountain Democrat | From Page: A4

 
.

Letters

GDPUD management report

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

 
District 2 supervisorial special election

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 3 Comments

Piano replaced

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

 
Comments sign-in policy

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

Save the Guinea Worm

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

 
Large bangs

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 2 Comments

Private property gets no respect

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

 
.

Sports

Taz pull through for SSL trophy

By Patty Pope | From Page: A8

 
Ex-Bruin lends a helping hand

By Steven Shaff | From Page: A8 | Gallery

Sierra Sharks finish middle of the pack

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A8

 
Roundup: July 29, 2014

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A8

.

Prospecting

Nuns discover a pleasant place

By Lexi Boeger | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Bargains can be found everywhere

By Democrat Staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

At a glance: Game time

By Mimi Escabar | From Page: B2

 
Barbecue dinner to benefit Blue Star Moms

By Mount Aukum Winery | From Page: B2

Stagecoach story takes riders on a trip

By Wendy Schultz | From Page: B3

 
Help needed to make cool ties

By Sew 4 | From Page: B3

Stroke and osteoporosis screenings planned

By Life Line Screening | From Page: B3

 
Gold Rush Days activities cancelled this year

By Sacramento Convention And Visitors Center | From Page: B4

Master Food Preservers: Tomato time

By Monique Wilber | From Page: B4

 
Build an author platform at the Library

By El Dorado | From Page: B5

 
Sacramento area museums offer summer fun

By Sacramento Association Of Museums | From Page: B5

.

Essentials

Weather stats 7-29-14

By Michael Raffety | From Page: A2

 
Building permits 6/2-6/2014

By Michael Raffety | From Page: A2Comments are off for this post

Crime Log: July 17

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A2

 
.

Obituaries

Merlyn Wilbur Adams

By Contributor | From Page: A2

 
Lisa Oliver Rose

By Contributor | From Page: A2

Wallace Murrel Thomas

By Contributor | From Page: A2

 
.

Real Estate

.

Comics

.

Women’s Health

Love the skin you’re in

By Noel Stack | From Page: WH4

Dump stress and improve your health, productivity

By Wendy Schultz | From Page: WH7Comments are off for this post

Women’s Health Expo

By Marshall Medical | From Page: WH8

Find the confidence you need to fight back

By Special to the Democrat | From Page: WH12

Our choices directly affect our health

By Special to the Democrat | From Page: WH14

They’re NOT your mother’s hearing devices!

By Marshall Medical | From Page: WH17