Jan 10, 2020
I've been through the draft of the Water Resilience Portfolio a few times now, and something keeps bugging me. It's the part that looks like Sites Reservoir construction will be advanced by accelerating approvals of the project. The language that causes me to raise an eyebrow is where it says, "Acquire through contract a portion of storage, dedicated for environmental purposes, for the life of the water storage projects the Water Commission ed under the Water Storage Investment Program funded by Proposition 1."
The Water Commission ed four water storage projects under Prop 1. Two are small (serving the Bay Area) and they received 100\% of the money they requested. The remaining two are Sites and Temperance Flat, and received so little funding they cannot proceed. These are the only four projects they could be referencing.
But what's weird is the language in Prop 1 already says any project ed must devote 50\% of the water to ecosystem improvements. What is this new contract they want to "acquire and dedicate to environmental purposes?"
The Portfolio draft also reads, "Accelerate state permitting and approvals of projects ed under the Water Storage Investment Program (Proposition 1) so that they are ready to go."
Maybe I'm just being suspicious, but Sites reservoir was first proposed in the 80's, and has been sandbagged for 40 years. Suddenly the proposal is to accelerate permitting the project, and to acquire a water contract for the environment. Is this contract in addition to the 50\% already required for ecosystem benefits in Prop 1? And if not, why redundantly put that in the Portfolio language when Prop 1 is clear? Will Sites finally get built, but be so dedicated to environmental purposes that it results in little to no water for food and people, and at the taxpayers expense?
Lastly, they specify "projects", with an s: "Acquire through contract a portion of storage, dedicated for environmental purposes, for the life of the water storage projects..." Is this taking additional water for fish from anything Prop 1 builds, away from human uses? Hmmm.