Fighting the Board!
Farmers, local lawmakers, the Modesto Bee and ordinary people want to fight for what they see as a disastrous reduction of their water.
Jul 18, 2018
We've been watching with great interest the State Water Resources Control Board's (SWRCB) proposal for water flows on the Stanislaus, Toulumne and Merced Rivers. It's encouraging that so many in the Modesto area are unified to fight what they call a 'water grab' by the board and environmentalists. Farmers, local lawmakers, the Modesto Bee and ordinary people want to fight for what they see as a disastrous reduction of their water. It's much different than the battle for water on the San Joaquin River where locals and the Fresno Bee seemed indifferent, or even more in favor of the fish. In Modesto they're fighting like it's the Alamo, while in Fresno it was more like surrender, waving a white flag.
Having said all that it doesn't mean the good people of Modesto will win their fight. We should also add that they saw all this coming years ago and prepared their case to the water board as well as could be done. They put together detailed studies showing the economic impact of losing water, more unemployment, poverty, fallowed land, more groundwater pumping, etc. In the end it didn't matter to the board anyway. But congratulations to them for keeping up the good fight, because it's not over til it's over. We're with you.
While all this is going on the next river to come under the microscope will be the Sacramento. The water board wants to let 55% of unimpeded flows run to the delta, an increase of 17% for the environment which means a 17% decrease for people and farms. The problem is where the water will come from. Right now that water is being used by someone, somewhere, and they're going to have to give it up if the board has its way. The Sacramento River plan is months behind the just released San Joaquin River plan, but a draft is expected in the Fall. Good luck, you'll need it.
Back to the Central San Joaquin Valley, another river will be up for review sooner than you think. The Kings River will have Pine Flat Dam relicensing come up in August of 2029. That seems like a long way away, but if you want to fight for the water you better start your planning soon. Those involved in the Modesto area put in a good 8 years of planning in their effort and still look like they will lose the decision to the unelected bureaucrats of the SWRCB. On the Kings River you have 11 years. Use them wisely. Look to the Friant Water Authority, Merced , Turlock and Modesto to see what they did right, or wrong.
Time to make our stand, fight for our rivers
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