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Who's Not Bringing Their Water to the Table?

These diversions are bigger than the water pumped from the South Delta to farms and urban areas in the southern half of the state.

Oct 20, 2011

 

Families Protecting The Valley Newsletter
VOLUME 3 ISSUE 71

OCTOBER 20 2011

:: IN THIS ISSUE
» Isenberg Speech
» Eminent Domain
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Denis Prosperi
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John "Dusty" Giacone
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Mark Watte
Kole Upton
Piedad Ayala
Tom Barcellos
Jim Walls

 
Who's Not Bringing Their Water to the Table?

A lot of water that could make it to the Delta never gets there.  It is diverted by cities like San Francisco that gets its water from Hetch Hetchy without going through the Delta.  Other cities and water districts also take water out of the system before it can get to the Delta. These diversions are bigger than the water pumped from the South Delta to farms and urban areas in the southern half of the state.  Yet, all we hear about from environmentalists is the constant blaming of the South Delta pumps.  If we have anything to say about it (and we do), you're going to hear a lot more about this 'other' water.

We have some good news to report regarding this 'other water', water known as 'upstream diversions'.  There has been a concerted effort to make sure the Delta Stewardship Committee takes these diversions into consideration when deliberating the 'two co-equal goals' of the Bay-Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP): water supply reliability for California and a healthy and protected Delta ecosystem.  Phil Isenberg is the chairman of the Delta Stewardship Council and wrote this in Sunday's Sacramento Bee:  "Those of us who live in Northern California like to complain about Delta water used by agriculture in the Central Valley and urban users in Southern California. I agree that exporters should pay a good share of the cost of improvements to the Delta ecosystem. But it is unreasonable for those of us up north to ignore the fact we use far more water than is exported through the Delta. Since we are part of the problem, we have to be part of the solution. It's that simple."

It is clear that our attempts to get this message through to those in charge of creating the map to the water future of California are succeeding.  It's a huge deal for those in charge of putting together the BDCP to acknowledge all factors in the Delta's problems, and the 'upstream diversion' factor is a big one.  It's nice to know the message has gotten through to them.


 

Another view: Delta plan is a fair way to balance water supply

Sacramento Bee 

Phil Isenberg
 

California law requires that the Delta Stewardship Council adopt an enforceable Delta plan to achieve the state's co-equal goals: water supply reliability for California and a healthy and protected Delta ecosystem. The recent Viewpoint article by the mayors of Folsom and Roseville was encouraging in that local stakeholders are paying attention to the Delta plan, but it's also clear they should broaden their perspective.



The mayors state two main concerns about the Delta plan: It "would impose serious restrictions on water supplies in our communities" and "proposes to impose fees on (our) water supplies to help pay for … the Delta plan."


The Delta plan supports the required-by-law of Delta water flows standards by 2014. Much has changed since the last , including the adoption of co-equal goals as state water policy and advanced scientific understanding. "Serious restrictions" on local water supplies are an unlikely outcome and serve only to foster fear and opposition to a process that is necessary and important to the Delta ecosystem and predictable water supplies.


The draft Delta plan also says local water agencies should comply with existing state laws and use local supplies efficiently and responsibly. I hope the mayors support this approach. On water conservation, for example, it's encouraging to hear the mayors support it, but the inconvenient truth is per capita water use in their cities – and in Sacramento – is far higher than the state average. Even after the state-mandated 20 percent urban conservation, their use will remain among the highest in California.


The draft Delta plan does recommend the Legislature impose fees. The plan follows the principle of beneficiary pays and suggests that fees also be charged to those who damage the Delta ecosystem. The twin notions of "beneficiaries pay" and "users pay" are fair and should be supported by everyone.


A last point: Those of us who live in Northern California like to complain about Delta water used by agriculture in the Central Valley and urban users in Southern California. I agree that exporters should pay a good share of the cost of improvements to the Delta ecosystem. But it is unreasonable for those of us up north to ignore the fact we use far more water than is exported through the Delta. Since we are part of the problem, we have to be part of the solution. It's that simple.


Phil Isenberg, chairman of the Delta Stewardship Council, is responding to the Oct. 11 Viewpoints article "New Delta plan is not a responsible solution," which said the "Delta plan that is currently under development would make no clear environmental gains and would impose serious restrictions on water supplies in our communities."

 
 

Parochialism in its best guise.

Here are another pair of upstream diverters, becoming aware that the Delta Plan will have an impact on them. They do a nice job making a moderate and sober case:
We are ready to participate in a responsible Delta solution, integrating our current water management efforts into a solution that works for all. Unfortunately, the Delta plan that is currently under development would make no clear environmental gains and would impose serious restrictions on water supplies in our communities.
They go on to say why Folsom and Roseville, and all of Northern California, shouldn’t have to give up any water. Then they say that Folsom and Roseville definitely shouldn’t have to pay any fees, especially in these hard times.
I have a question for them. Water and money to fix the Delta will have to come from somewhere. Instead of just saying “Not us”, where, precisely, should water and money to fix the Delta come from? Honestly, everyone who writes an editorial saying “the Delta Plan sux because it will impose costs on us” should have to say where those costs should fall instead.
The mayors assure us that they stand ready to help the Delta:
Our region will, of course, do our part to help develop water solutions for our state.
So long as that help doesn’t cost real money or real water. Folsom and Roseville are more than prepared to donate cheap words to the cause.

 
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