Sunday, October 25, 2009

Governor Stumbles Over Water Dilemma

Greens Suggest 'Rational' Plan

California Greens today said Governor Arnold Shwarzenegger has "stumbled" over the State's water issues. They say the recent rains don't fix the problems, because the problems are long-terms and deep-seated.

The following statement came directly from the Greens.

Recent heavy rains may solve home gardening dilemmas, but it won't fix California's water problems, and it won't help Gov. Schwarzenegger understand the state's deep-seated water troubles, the Green Party of California said in response to the governor's call for a special session to deal with the water mess. A session that never materialized this week.

California's most progressive political party approved, at its recent state convention, a new Water Planning Plank that would be "rational (and) workable."

"It appears the governor is trying to spend money that California does not have on solutions that California does not need," said Wes Rolley, Co-Chair, EcoAction Committee, Green Party US. "There are rational, workable solutions that will supply California's people with water for decades. Unfortunately, the political system seems not to be interested in pursuing them."

The Green Party water planning plank states, in general, that the "principle of bioregionalism - living within the means of a region's natural resources - should give direction for water policies." It's called "Values-driven Water Management," said Rolley.

Greens agree that conservation (reduce, reuse, recycle) is essential, and that "attention" to climate change requires this strategy, and by increasing costs for larger users will actually create new funds for research and development to decrease demand or increase supply of adequate water. Green solutions include everything from eliminating water subsidies for corporate agribusiness and supporting smaller "family" farms over higher polluting "factory farms" to favoring upgrade of water infrastructure, including levees, irrigation canals and aqueducts (California only spends 2.5 percent of the state product on water infrastructure compared with 20 percent 50 years ago).

Greens have watched the Governor grab every photo opportunity he can schedule, while the hard work to resolve the problem stalls in the back rooms of Sacramento. Families of the Delta worry about their livelihood being snatched away, Schwarzenegger has fallen in with those having the lowest priority water rights and using a high priced PR firm to create a crisis, said Rolley.

"It's long overdue for California taxpayers to quit footing the bill for expensive and environmentally unsustainable diversions. Regional long-term water plans need to be forged with input from water users, the science and the environment. These plans need to be implemented in regional water boards and authorities that represent stakeholders, hydrologists and environmental advocates," said Martin Zehr, a GPCA water planning plank author.
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