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Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
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own property, and caretake our wildlife and natural resources.
 

 

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We Can See Where This Is Going

Farmers don't have to believe in conspiracy theories.  History is their reality.  They've seen Lucy pull the football away at the last minute too many times.  They've had the rug pulled out from under them.  They've been stabbed in the back.  They've been double-crossed.  If you don't know what we're talking about we'd be glad to show you the water bonds that promised water storage only to be pulled out at the last minute.  And this year they're not even waiting til the last minute to pull it out.  It's gone even before the rewrite of the bond is even started.  We could show you the talk of storage that never happens.  The subject of talk changes, but the game is always the same.  It's kind of like compromise in Washington D.C.  One party says they'll promise $3 of spending cuts for $1 of revenue, only the spending cuts never seem to happen. 

But, back to water.  Some Valley water districts have been investing in the Bay-Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) with the hope of getting a more reliable supply of water.  This is the plan to build twin tunnels under the delta to avoid the problems we're having with the Delta Smelt and the pumps.  They started with the idea of diverting 15,000 cfs (cubic feet per second) through the tunnels.  It has since been reduced to 9,000 cfs.  This plan has been attacked by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) who want a single tunnel with a capacity of 3,000 cfs.  This would be enough water to take care of the Metropolitan Water District that serves 17,000,000 voters of Southern California.  They will get their water based solely on their political clout.

The Sacramento Bee ran an editorial over the weekend which we have for you below that advocates taking a close look at the 'single-tunnel-3,000 cfs plan.  They also say they want South of Delta storage like "groundwater storage, or expansion of existing surface storage, such as the San Luis reservoir." 

So, it's beginning to look like Plan A, the 15,000 cfs BDCP is morphing into Plan B, the 3,000 cfs BDCP with promises of storage somewhere down the line.  We know how that 'storage somewhere down the line' works.  Looks like Lucy is pulling the ball away before old Charlie Brown even thinks about kicking it.  This cartoon isn't nearly as funny as it used to be!!
 

Editorial: Feds need to press Brown to look at all options for a Bay-Delta fix

Sacramento Bee 4/28/13

http://www.sacbee.com/2013/04/28/5375489/editorial-feds-need-to-press-brown.html

If Gov. Jerry Brown had his way, the tunneling machines would be boring right now under the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, carving out space for a pair of 40-foot-wide tunnels to ship Sacramento River water to cities and irrigation districts south of the Delta.

But things aren't going well for Brown's tunnel project, part of a 6-year-old effort known as the Bay Delta Conservation Plan. Earlier this month, federal fish agencies again raised concerns about the project's impact on imperiled salmon and other species. In particular, the National Marine Fisheries Service warned that, combined with climate change, the tunnel's diversions could contribute to the extinction of winter-run chinook salmon in the Sacramento River. It also expressed concern that the diversions, in certain conditions, could leave insufficient flow in the river for fish migration.

The agency's letter was alarming to water contractors, some of which were already leery of further investments in BDCP unless they can be assured of an expeditious process. In February, for instance, the Kern County Water Agency wrote Brown, threatening to "withdraw" from the project if federal agencies don't finish their reviews and support it by July 1.

Last week, BDCP was also supposed to release a report on its projected costs and funding sources, but now that has
been put off until May 6. Speculation abounds on whether the report was delayed because of disputes among water contractors on sharing costs for the project. Richard Stapler, spokesman for the Natural Resources Agency, acknowledged there have been "disputes on the edges" about sharing costs. But he said that other factors, including the general complexity of the economic analysis, were the cause of the delay.

Brown, clearly worried about further schedule slippage, last week sent a letter to the U.S. secretaries of interior and commerce, calling on them to marshal their forces to release an environmental impact statement and Federal Register notice on the project this summer. "I stand willing to mobilize whatever resources we have at our disposal to assist the federal government in their document review," Brown wrote in the letter, sent Monday.

We agree federal officials need to step up on BDCP, but not in the way Brown proposes. What is really needed is for the Obama administration to address some of the gaping flaws in BDCP, which the governor has so far refused to acknowledge or confront. These include:

Sidelined stakeholders. From the start, BDCP's approach has been to tell Delta and Northern California stakeholders that a canal or tunnel will be built, with input from them as an afterthought. That's hardly a way to negotiate a pact that will settle decades of water battles, or comply with the state's goal of ecosystem restoration and more reliable water supplies.

South of Delta storage. Tunnels or no tunnels, the only way to ensure more reliable water supplies for San Joaquin Valley agriculture is the ability to store big gulps of water when the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers can provide it. These gulps could go into groundwater storage, or expansion of existing surface storage, such as the San Luis reservoir. BDCP adherents offer lip service to this. That's not enough.

Alternatives to big tunnels. A coalition of environmental groups, water agencies and other interests is pressing BDCP to honestly examine what it calls a "portfolio" option. It would include a single tunnel instead of two; south of Delta storage; and more emphasis on water recycling and conservation. While Resources Secretary John Laird says this alternative will be studied, it is well known his staff, as well as water contractors, oppose this option, leaving little hope it will be faithfully examined.

Operational details. The Brown administration is still pushing a "build it now, figure out how to operate it later" approach to the tunnels. That won't work. Northern California wants ironclad assurances that future operators of the tunnels won't seek to maximize diversions at the expense of the environment or Delta and upstream water users.

We and many others have made these points before. As long as they go unheard by the Brown administration, the opposition to BDCP will grow, and grow and grow.


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