Thursday, July 07, 2011

At times, neutrality is only a lack of courage.

If you have followed Martin's excellent series of posts on CA Water, you might wonder what others are trying to do. Surprisingly, the Metropolitan Water District, the largest urban wholesaler in CA has been neutral regarding H.R. 1837, the "San Joaquin Valley Water Reliability Act".

H.R. 1837 is an effort by the agricultural water districts on the West Side of the Sa Joaquin Valley to ensure that their water is protected, even though they increasingly have to fallow land for other reasons. I refer you to Spreck Rosencran's post at On the Waterfront today. He concludes:
If even a fraction of the provisions in H.R. 1837 pass, the promise of a sustainable ecosystem will be eliminated for all practical purposes. In other words, the BDCP (Bay Delta Conservatiuon Plan)will not be able to protect the Delta and its resources and it will garner little support in many parts of the state.

It’s a curious strategy for urban water agencies to stand by and allow San Joaquin Valley exporters to take a dangerous gamble with such an important segment of the state’s supply for future generations. It is time to stop H.R. 1837 and together develop a solution that works for everybody- farmers, fishermen and urban areas alike.

It does not take much imagination to believe that the Metropolitan is working on their own proposals, including participating in supposed-to-be secret negotiations regarding the financing of a new "conveyance" that would assure their own future supplies. By conveyance I mean either a new peripheral canal around the Delta or a tunnel under it.

The facts of CA water politics are that those most affected: rate payers,the public taxpayers, the residents and daily users of the Delta, are not given a seat at the table. Once the deal is defined, then it is sold to the public so that we are all willing to open out pocketbooks yet again.

Now is perhaps our last opportunity to affect the future of water planning / management in CA, but it won't happen without the exercise of political muscle on a state wide basis.

To Greens care enough to do that?

1 comment:

Martin Zehr said...

I am not used to seeing "rate payers" as a stakeholder in water politics. There are users- urban, ag, historical, and there are advocates- environmental. There is no differentiation of interests when rate payers are brought to the table as rate payers. Users have distinct priorities and they represent segments of the population who utilize the resource. What defines users is how they will use the allocations. When regionally we define priorities, we make value judgements about what we determine is important to us. The politics are in getting others to agree with us and maximizing benefits to a variety of users. EX. Instream flow benefits recreational users, environmental users and commercial users.