The Bay-Delta Conservation Plan(BDCP) was supposed to bring different water users together to find a way to keep the Bay-Delta healthy and also deliver water to the ag interests and people of Southern California. It would appear from the comments of the Interior Department's David Hayes that the real plan is to cut water deliveries South of the Delta even further. Because of what appears to be a forgone conclusion, the Westlands Water District has pulled their support from the BDCP. It looks like the same old story of bringing farmers to the table in an effort to get them to agree to cut their own throats. Westlands, instead, chose to walk away. Maybe Westland's decision will push the Obama administration to re-think their strategy. We'll see. In the meantime, the State Water contractors and the Metropolitan Water District have released statements in response to Westlands withdrawal and we reprint them for you below.
Westlands Pulls Support From BDCP
Nov 23, 2010
Westlands Water District News Release
“In response to political interference from the Department of the Interior, the Westlands Water District today announced that it is withdrawing its support for the continued development of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP).
“As a public agency, Westlands cannot continue to spend millions of our ratepayers‟ dollars on a project that is likely to deliver no more and potentially less water to the public than they are receiving today,” the district‟s President, Jean P. Sagouspe, wrote in a letter to David Hayes
, Deputy Secretary of the Department of the Interior.
Westlands and the other public water agencies that rely upon water supplies pumped through the Delta have invested nearly $150 million and more than four years of effort to develop the BDCP program for fixing California‟s broken water system. BDCP was created to help resolve regulatory shortages through a balanced plan to meet California‟s co-equal objectives of repairing the Delta environment and restoring reliable, adequate water supplies for California.
“Through this action we are trying to get BDCP back on track,” said Thomas W. Birmingham, General Manager of Westlands.
Over the last three years, federal regulations have reduced California's public water supplies by more than one-third. But instead of working to solve the problems caused by these regulatory shortages, the department of the Interior, at David Hayes' direction, is now proposing to add even more regulatory restrictions, reducing even more drastically the deliveries that California's farms and cities and two-thirds of the state's residents depend on.
Sagouspe's letter expresses confidence that there are many dedicated employees within Reclamation, the Fish & Wildlife Service, and the National Marine Fisheries Service
who could achieve a successful outcome of the BDCP process if they were not being subjected to "misinformed political interference."
Jean P. Sagouspe's Letter To David Hayes
The Honorable David Hayes
Deputy Secretary of the Interior
Department of the Interior
Re: Bay-Delta Conservation Plan
This letter is written to follow-up on our meeting of November 10, 2010, during which...continue reading here
State Water Contractors Respond To Westlands Withdrawal From BDCP
“Sacramento, CA – “We are certainly disappointed that Westlands, for now, has withdrawn from the BDCP effort. We understand the District’s frustration with the U.S. Department of the Interior and share the concerns about whether our agencies will be able to achieve the water supply goals originally envisioned when the BDCP was established.
“However, development of the BDCP will continue moving forward and the State Water Contractors are confident that the process can achieve the goals of restoration and water system improvements with federal and state leadership. There’s enough funding to complete the next phase – the technical analysis that will give us much-needed answers about how much the project will cost and how much water it will deliver. This is a key step in this process and we look forward to the results.
“Although there is an inherent challenge in working through many of the tough issues that the BDCP addresses, we believe that this comprehensive approach is the right solution for the ailing Delta.”
Laura King Moon
Assistant General Manager
State Water Contractors
The State Water Contractors is a statewide, non-profit association of 27 public agencies from Northern, Central and Southern California that purchase water under contract from the California State Water Project. Collectively the State Water Contractors deliver water to more than 25 million residents throughout the state and more than 750,000 acres of agricultural lands. For more information on the State Water Contractors, please visit www.swc.org.
Metropolitan Water District's Statement Regarding Westlands
“Jeffrey Kightlinger, general manager of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, issued the following statement regarding Westlands Water District’s announced withdrawal from participation in the Bay Delta Conservation Plan process:
“The Bay Delta Conservation Plan remains the best chance California has to frame a
lasting ecosystem-water system solution for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. The BDCP needs key leadership from the federal and state agencies in order for the solutions to be identified and brought to conclusion in a timely manner. Metropolitan believes that with leadership, a solution that meets the co-equal goals of water supply reliability and ecosystem restoration is very much achievable.
“Water districts stand ready to invest billions of their ratepayer dollars toward such a solution if they can regain reliable water supplies sufficient to support this level of investment.
We share in the frustration that BDCP agencies have yet to embrace such a solution, but remain confident that additional technical work will help to identify a historic package of actions that the Delta desperately needs.”
The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California is a cooperative of 26 cities and water agencies serving nearly 19 million people in six counties. The district imports water from the Colorado River and Northern California to supplement local supplies, and helps its members to develop increased water conservation, recycling, storage and other resource management programs