Regrettably, the program has been hijacked to a degree by environmental advocates...
Jan 10, 2020
Environmentalists have spent many years trying to make farmers look like they've been living off of government subsidies and free water. Most people probably don't realize farmers have to pay for their water. But they do. Those who rely on the Central Valley Project have been paying for decades and they continue to pay. How much? We'll get into that.
The Central Valley Project was initiated by the government to provide an opportunity following the depression and World War II for folks to settle in and develop the Central Valley while raising their families and building communities. It has been a remarkable success as an opportunity for families to rise up from poverty while providing a stable food supply for the nation and the world. This CVPIA Accountability process is supposed review the situation and determine if the results are consistent with the goals. Regrettably, the program has been hijacked to a degree by environmental advocates who demand the project’s goals continue to be changed to advance only the most radical environmental agenda at the expense of the rest of the goals for society.
The Friant Water Authority held a public meeting Monday to discuss Central Valley Project accountability. There is a good synopsis of the meeting written by Don Wright on his WaterWrights website. As he states, "The CVPIA has taken billions of dollars (In the past 30-years $1.7 billion has been collected from all sources...the annual amount has been between $54 and $70 million) and hasn’t achieved much of its stated goals. Whether it likes it or not the US Bureau of Reclamation has been tasked to be the bookkeeper. The folks paying the bill want some answers to their questions." And they didn't just take money, saying "Amongst other things the CVPIA took 800,000 a/f from CVP contractors for environmental use – annually." The accounting of all this appears 'fuzzy' to many.
So, farmers have paid billions, lost hundreds of thousands of acre feet a year and the goals that were supposed to be met haven't been reached. Tom Barcellos from the Lower Tulare River Irrigation District (also a Board Member of Families Protecting the Valley told the gathering that "prior to the CVPIA (1992) groundwater levels in the Valley were rising. The levels have been falling since the act was implemented and he reminded the Bureau folks everyone is up against SGMA (Sustainable Groundwater Management Act).
We encourage you to read Don Wright's report, and there is still time for public comment (The deadline on written comments was January 10th but has been extended to February 14th). Bottom line is farmers have been paying for surface water while losing it, and watched their groundwater levels as a result.
Friant Water Authority & the CVPIA January 6, 2020
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