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Letter to KBC from Santa  Clara Valley Water District regarding Schwarzenegger's proposed billions to be spent on storage and water conveyance


Today Governor Schwarzenegger proposed spending billions of dollars on storage and conveyance of water throughout the state including above-ground facilities.  The new infrastructure addresses the need to increase the state's water supply and concentrate on global warming concerns. 

The governor also promoted a comprehensive approach to water supply which includes additional groundwater storage, water resources stewardship, and more rigorous water conservation.  As chairman of the board of directors of Santa Clara Valley Water District, I welcome the governor's efforts to make water resources a high priority for the State.

Water District, the primary water resource provider for the nearly 1.8 million residents in Santa Clara County, which includes San Jose, the capital and economic engine of Silicon Valley, truly understands the obligation to address California's water supply needs. 
We wholeheartedly agree that water supply and global climate change are a top priority for the future of California.  We support storage and associated conveyance as it is critical to addressing the long term sustainability of California's water system. 

With that said, we are open to exploring options to address the economic ramifications of global climate change and its impact on state water supplies. We must find solutions that are practical, environmentally sensitive and beneficial to our taxpayers.  While these options may include additional storage, we will continue to focus our efforts on current practices such as promoting water conservation and water supply sustainability for future generations.
The Santa Clara Valley Water District manages the county's major watersheds, including 10 reservoirs, more than 800 miles of streams and large groundwater basins. The water district also provides flood protection throughout Santa Clara County (For more information visit www.valleywater.org).
We would be happy to discuss our thoughts in more detail with you. 

If you are interested in an interview, please contact Candice Kwok-Smith

Santa Clara Valley Water District Chairman Tony Estremera


Santa Clara Valley Water District Chairman Tony Estremera,

Thank you for your letter. I will put in on our www.klamathbasincrisis.org website.

Here in the Klamath Basin we have not been able to muster up any focus to build more water storage. We built up Klamath Lake to store irrigation water for farmers and ranchers, and built dams to regulate water for power. Before the Klamath Project was built, the river often went dry in the fall.

Unfortunately the government decided to list as endangered tens of thousands of suckerfish. There were more this year than ever counted in Klamath Lake, yet the government mandates lake level and river flow requirements which take our stored water from farmers and suckerfish and send it to the ocean for a salmon biological opinion. We have storage and a project of canals and reservoirs we built and paid for, the most efficient in the United States, but we are only allowed to use them when our government allows us to use them.

Presently the Tribes, environmentalists and several politicians want to destroy our infrastructure and remove four dams from the Klamath River. These dams provide some flood control, and they provide power for 80,000 households. In the name of 'conservation', these groups have forced us to downsize agriculture in the form of a 'water bank', government land acquisitions, and creating more wetlands.
* The waterbank takes 100,000 acre feet of water per year away from agriculture in the form of groundwater and surface water and puts it in the Klamath River, artificially elevating the river, downsizing irrigated agriculture, and depleting our aquifer by five feet per year, with no time to recharge.
* Land acquisitions have taken more than 100,000 acres out of agriculture mostly to create wetlands. These wetlands evaporate more than twice the water that is used by irrigated agriculture, further depleting our water supply. It has harmed water quality and decimated our cattle industry. Destroying our infrastructure is not beneficial in any way to taxpayers of our community or yours.

Our community, via dams and agriculture, puts a healthy dent in your power needs and your food needs.

We hope that the governor's plan will preserve the infrastructure we have in the Klamath Basin and Klamath River, and that it will help you have certainty for the water you need.

We welcome on KBC News any input you have.



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