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Drought Is Only Half the Story

Historical facts show that for 20+ years Democrats have been long on talk about California’s worsening water supply shortage but short on delivery of any real solutions.

Apr 07, 2014

This is a note and op-ed piece we received from Lance Johnson, a friend of Families Protecting the Valley:

Below is an Op Ed I sent to the Fresno Bee yesterday AM that is on point with Sunni's column Families just ran. This is my third version on the same topic going back about 3 weeks to a parallel column by Dan Walters that Families also ran. My first version went to the Sac Bee who did not run it. Version 2 went to Wall Street Journal as they have of late run a number of CA drought articles. WSJ didn't run it. So I did the rewrite below for Fresno Bee. So far every story and every writer side steps the fact that it is Democrats that brought about our water crisis and I spend a goodly amount of time citing chapter and verse about that. This is also a history lesson on CVPIA which during the implementation process I represented west side CVP interests (everybody except Santa Clara), from start to finish. So I have first hand knowledge about it and can tell horror stories about John Garamendi's involvement in it as he led the process at the time known as "The Garamendi Process".

I don't expect the Fresno Bee to run it, but I do need to give them a week. After that if the Fresno Bee doesn't run it feel free with it as you wish.

So, here it is:

California’s drought and water supply crisis has been regional and state news for months and recently started making national headlines, as it should. With 50% of our nation’s supply of fresh fruit and vegetables, 95% of the nuts and over 25% of the beef and poultry coming from California the availability, quality, cost and safety of food in supermarkets is being affected from coast to coast.

Increasing numbers of media articles, columns and editorials are calling this a natural drought. But that’s only half the story. In a widely carried opinion article Congressman Tom McClintock’s accurately stated; “Droughts are nature's fault and beyond our control. Water shortages, on the other hand, are our fault”. But just exactly whose fault is it? In short it’s state and federal Democrat legislators that own California’s long-term water supply shortage and the current crisis.

Historical facts show that for 20+ years Democrats have been long on talk about California’s worsening water supply shortage but short on delivery of any real solutions. That while simultaneously stripping away ever increasing quantities of California’s water with scientifically groundless regulatory actions, increasing water supply impacts by reinterpreting existing laws (including ones they themselves wrote) and stonewalling efforts to increase California’s water supplies and its reliability.

Case in point: the Central Valley Project Improvement Act, Public Law 102-575. Written and passed by Democrats in 1992 CVPIA dedicated about 1,400,000 acre-feet per year (enough to irrigate over 500,000 acres) from the federal Central Valley Project to fish and wildlife purposes. But that water wasn’t reallocated in a “reasonably balanced manner” as called for in the law. Rather, during the law’s implementation, Democrats reprioritized it giving fish and wildlife uses a higher priority than deliveries to farms and cities for which the CVP was built and is being paid for.

But Democrats didn’t stop there. CVPIA included Section 3408.j, “Yield Replacement”, requiring the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation to develop programs and build facilities to replace the lost water, the lost yield, by 2007. But when USBR submitted its “Least Cost Yield Replacement Study” to Congress in 1996 Democrats reinterpreted 3408.j concluding that USBR was only required to do the Study, not actually replace the
lost yield.

Since then Democrats have been at the center of endless state and federal regulatory actions that have blocked efforts to improve California’s water supplies by building new dams or even just raising existing dams (by as little as 10 feet) while requiring ever increasing delta outflows and further restricting water pumping from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta based on scientifically groundless regulatory requirements foisted by regulatory agency zealots and environmental activists.

Examples include 2013 when, facing another drought year in 2014, regulatory agencies required 800,000+ AF of water to be flushed out to the ocean to help delta smelt. Yet months of monitoring by those same regulatory agencies could not scientifically prove that even one delta smelt, or any other fish, benefitted.

And for several recent weeks there was over 40,000 AF/day (enough to fill a dry Millerton Lake in 2 weeks) flowing uselessly out the Golden Gate that was not being captured because those same Democrat controlled regulatory agencies were mired in “delta smelt drought monitoring” and “discussions on appropriate courses of action”. That while, in a cruel irony, turning a blind eye to their own fishery monitoring that by itself was killing more delta smelt than might have been lost at the delta pumps if they’d been allowed to pump the excess outflow.

Democrats have talked about “the problem” for decades and have had plenty of opportunities to do something about it. But legislative proposals with real solutions have consistently been blocked and are once again being stalled by Democrats at the behest of their environmentalist handlers. So don’t hold your breath about the recent proposal for yet more studies on building Sites Reservoir – it’s already been studied several times over many years. And the current Bill’s cosponsor, Democrat Congressman John Garamendi, is well aware of those studies having led the CVPIA Yield Replacement process.

History is clear. Democrats don’t really want to solve California’s long- term water supply shortage or our current crisis. Nor due they care about our Valley’s agricultural industry, the people who work in it and rely on it, or our nation’s food supply. Equally clear is that any solutions and legislation they propose are a façade, a “Red Herring”, designed to make it look like they care and are doing something when in fact they don’t and aren’t.

Lance Johnson


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