Monday, February 12, 2007

Re-envisioning the Delta again.

I always come back to the issues surrounding water in California and the problems of the Sacramento / San Joaquin Delta. There are two reasons to bring this up again.

One is the publication of a new study from the Public Policy Institute of California entitled "Envisioning Futures for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta"

The second is a related editorial in the Sacramento Bee yesterday, February 11, 2007. The conclude...
Several government reviews of the Delta are under way. A bill to build
the Peripheral Canal is before the California Legislature, but even proponents are waiting for more facts and studies before any big push begins. The environmental community, in general, is holding fire. Contra Costa County and Delta farming interests reject the premise that today's system can't be fixed in a way to protect their interests. If only the Earth were flat, or not warming.

Beware of anything feeling like a timid tinkering with a troubled system. The Delta's problems demand state leaders to go way beyond the comfort zone. At this point, everything uncomfortable should be on the table. PPIC and UC Davis, to their great credit, may have just shaken the water world to its senses.
I just hope to hell that some of you are paying attention to this. If there is any political organization that should be standing up and helping to define the objectives here, it is the Green Party. The Republicans of the Central Valley are totally beholden to the interests of big agriculture and big developers. The Democrats are themselves so concerned about development (after all a developer named Tsakopoulos funds a lot of them) that you should question everything that comes out of the mouths of their leaders, like Perata, though his latest moves have the appearances of being positive.
Perata, D-Oakland, has been reorganizing Senate committees and announcing new committee leaders in recent days. Earlier this week, he caused a stir among water experts when he tapped Sen. Sheila Kuehl, D-Santa Monica, to head the newly formed Natural Resources and Water Committee.

Perata's move strips water legislation from (State Sen. Michael - Linden) Machado's old agriculture committee and places it under the purview of a panel with more environmentalists than farmers. The two groups often bicker about how best to allocate California's scarce water supply.

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