I am going to continue to hammer this Delta issue some more. One of the reasons that I feel I need to do it is that fact that Schwarzenegger, Feinstein and Pombo are making a lot of noice about the need for fixing the levees in the delta. The news here in the Bay Area is carrying the fact that a levee broke along the Wheeler tract in this last set of storms, flooding some farm land. This is not the first time this levee has been breached. It was also breached in the New Years Day storm and again last year.
So, why do I not think that the Schwarzenegger bond issue is a great thing? That is because it hides the fact that CalFed, Diane Feinsteing grand compromise on water in California, is a failure by no one talks about that. It is off the table in conversation. Dr. Jeffrey Mount of UC Davis, says that "we have not had that conversation since we decided as a state to shut up about alternatives to the delta and sign on to the CalFed record of decision in 2000 and is the ultimated limiter of free speech about the delta."
This is another of Diane Feinstein's publically negotiated compromises, like the logging issues with the Pacific Lumber Company and the Headwaters Forest. If compromise is her way to get things done, what happens when we compromise away our rights to have an open conversation about the future of this state, all in the name of a bureaucracy that is beholden to everyone except the citizens.
If you want to understand just where this battle for water is going, I suggest that you read two more items. The first is an LA Times story, date lined Calexico, CA, February 24, 2006. This tells the tale of the Metropolitan Water District and its efforts to secure the waters of the New and Alamo Rivers for the Citizens of Los Angeles and San Diego. The Times writer describes the New River thusly.
Technically, it is not a river but a ditch carrying drainage water the color of pea soup that brims with sewage, animal carcasses and industrial waste from Mexicali. This toxic stew contains bacteria and viruses known to cause tuberculosis, polio, hepatitis and typhoid.
Drug smugglers and illegal immigrants use the smelly, sudsy river as an illicit entryway to the United States, confident that U.S. Border Patrol agents will not pursue them into the murky water.
The other is a story from High Country News concerning the same area. Writing of a Las Vegas, NV sponsored groundwater project "that won't be finished until 2018 at the earliest."
In the meantime, Las Vegas will pay the federal government $80 million to build a new reservoir along the California-Mexico border. The reservoir will catch overflow that farmers in the region currently can't use; in return for funding the project, Las Vegas can taken an equivalent amount of water out of Lake Mead until the groundwater project is in place.
Of course, we need more Venitian Canals in Las Vegas.