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Dog & Pony Show

In simple terms, the enviros have already fought for the water while we fight to install the cement.

Apr 17, 2015

Dog and pony show" is a colloquial term which has come to mean a highly promoted, often over-staged performance, presentation, or event designed to sway or convince opinion for political, or less often, commercial ends. Typically, the term is used in a pejorative sense to connote disdain, jocular lack of appreciation, or distrust of the message being presented or the efforts undertaken to present it.

That about sums up the California Water Commission's meeting in Fresno Wednesday and earlier in the week in Chico. Voters who thought the passage of Prop 1, the Water Bond, last year would mean the construction of projects like Sites and Temperance Flat are finally coming to terms with reality.

Locals came out to testify and convince the commissioners of the value of the projects were met with some realizations about what's really going on. The Chico Enterprise-Record is one of the few publications that has seen the writing on the wall since the very beginning.


After the Chico meeting Monday, the ER wrote, "people were also not pleased to hear the language in the ballot measure dedicates the $2.7 billion for “public benefit,” which is basically everything except agricultural, residential and commercial use. Fifty percent of the public benefit has to be for ecosystems, with the rest for water quality improvement, flood control, emergency response, and recreation."

And there was this: "Any project that gets funding also has to provide a “measurable” improvement in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta ecosystem, even though the standard for measuring that has yet to be defined."

In simple terms, the enviros have already fought for the water while we fight to install the cement. We wrote about this last June in our newsletter "We Fight for Dams, Enviros Fight for Water!"

In the newsletter we reported that "according to Brett Walton at Circle of Blue: "For instance, the bureau released a feasibility study last month for the $US 2.6 billion Temperance Flat project. Contrary to nearly every dam, Temperance Flat’s primary justification is not water supply, but environmental restoration. The dam will increase supplies for cities and farmers by a piddling amount, but its main purpose is storing cold water to help revive fish habitat in the San Joaquin River."

And there's the fact that the Commission back in January announced that it was going to study the storage issue for the next two years. As the Chico ER reported, "The work’s already been done. The answers are already known. The only reason we can come up with to dink around for two years is to come up with excuses to not build reservoirs."

Hope you enjoyed the meeting.

 

Residents learn Sites not a slam dunk for water bond funding


Chico Enterprise-Record

Steve Schoonover

Chico >> The question of how billions of dollars in water storage bond money would be spent drew a standing-room-only crowd Monday night in Chico, and many of them got an unpleasant reality check.

Two California Water Commission members and supporting staff were in town to explain how they would decide how to spend the $2.7 billion earmarked for storage in the Proposition 1 water bond approved by voters in November.

Clearly many of the people who filled the Chico Elks Lodge thought that question had been answered before they voted, and were disappointed to learn no, they hadn’t voted to build Sites Reservoir.

Sites, a proposed 1.8 million acre-foot reservoir west of Maxwell that’s been studied for decades, figured prominently in the campaign to get Proposition 1 passed. The commissioners and staff explained the law’s language allows money to be spent on Sites — and may even give it a leg up — but dictates a competitive process that includes groundwater storage and several other options.

People were also not pleased to hear the language in the ballot measure dedicates the $2.7 billion for “public benefit,” which is basically everything except agricultural, residential and commercial use.

Fifty percent of the public benefit has to be for ecosystems, with the rest for water quality improvement, flood control, emergency response, and recreation — the later an element Water Commissioner Daniel Curtin emphasized would be a minor consideration.

Any project that gets funding also has to provide a “measurable” improvement in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta ecosystem, even though the standard for measuring that has yet to be defined.

Most of those revelations sent a discordant murmur through the room, though the crowd was remarkably polite considering its size.

And it was thoughtful. Nearly two hours of the session went to collecting comments from the crowd, with Juliana Birkoff of the Center for Collaborative Studies at Sacramento State University carrying the microphone out through the crowd. The center is coordinating the input process.

Many people spoke out in favor of Sites, and others emphasized protecting Sacramento Valley aquifers as “conjunctive use” — coordinating groundwater and surface water use — is a potential target for Proposition 1 money.

Ideas and opinions were expressed that clearly startled the commissioners. “We knew,” Curtin said of the listening tour, “that we had to get out of Sacramento.”
 
There was applause — the loudest coming for a speaker who said “We need to shift the state’s reliance on Northern California water” and recommended shifting bullet train funding to building desalination plants along the coast ­— and for close to two hours everyone was welcomed to speak, and was heard respectfully by the crowd and officials


 

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