Thursday, November 19, 2009

Tale of Two Deltas

When I first started to closely follow the water issues surrounding the California Delta, one of the first items I read was by Dr. Jeffrey Mount of U.C. Davis Center for Watershed Studies. (Various stories are around. In this one on MSNBC Dr. Mount makes the point.)

Yesterday, a Federal Judge put a large portion of the blame directly on the Army Corps of Engineers.
"It is the court's opinion that the negligence of the Corps, in this instance by failing to maintain the MRGO properly, was not policy, but insouciance, myopia and short-sightedness," U.S. District Court Judge Stanwood Duval Jr. wrote in his lengthy ruling, referring to the Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet canal.

"For over 40 years, the Corps was aware that the Reach II levee protecting Chalmette and the Lower Ninth Ward was going to be compromised by the continued deterioration of the MRGO ... The Corps had an opportunity to take a myriad of actions to alleviate this deterioration or rehabilitate this deterioration and failed to do so. Clearly, the expression 'talk is cheap' applies here."
When I look at the water legislation passed recently by the California Legislature, and signed with great fanfare by our Greenwashed Gov, I have to think that no lessons were learned, no effective actions were taken and the levees are in worse shape today than they were when Dr. Mount was quoted on MSNBC.

It will take years before the Sacramento Bureaucracy admits that this effort, just like the Feinstein crafted CALFED program from the 90's, is another failure. I only hope that the levees in the Delta do not themselves fail before then. If that happens, we know who is culpable. Calfifornia Department of Water Resources, California State Legislature and, lest I forget, the Army Corps of Engineers.

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