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Looking beyond the Delta

Direction to the DSC by the Legislature with respect to developing the Delta Plan includes managing not just the Delta’s water, but the water resources of the whole state (Section 85020(a)). So the DSC’s deliberations are extending well beyond water use in the Delta. During discussion of the Agriculture White Paper introduced at the meeting, the point was made that non-permanent crops have more habitat value than permanent crops.  Solano County has already been considering what kind of agriculture and ag practices synchronize best with habitat conservation. DSC member Don Nottoli pointed out that water-intensive crops may be better for habitat. That means more water in the Delta for cropping and conservation, not less. Tom Zuckerman described the Agriculture White [...]

A disincentive to conserve

Last month we reported that Fitch Ratings, a global agency that evaluates and rates agencies that issue bonds, had given the San Luis and Delta-Mendota Water Authority an A rating on revenue bonds issued in 2008. The rating was based on the financial strength of Westlands Water District.  That, in turn, was based on Westlands water “entitlements” (a term open to question) and its asserted ability to market water. We also noted that municipal bonds financing water supply can be risky, given potential shortages of water. Now Fitch has given a AAA rating to $250 million in Metropolitan Water District water revenue bonds scheduled to be sold this week.  Fitch has also affirmed its previous AAA ratings on two prior [...]

Many pairs of eyes are the next best thing to eyes in the back of your head

We know you’ve noticed that it has been raining.  One Delta business owner observed that with the Mokelumne River nearing flood stage, the state could move toward the “preferred alternative” central canal called for in the CalFed 2000 documents by opening some dams to put more water into the river, thereby flooding the McCormack Williamson tract. The state has already paid $35 million for adjacent Staten Island to flood for in-Delta storage. Meanwhile, in the North Delta, private landowners are moving ahead with strategies that will inevitably affect the Yolo Bypass. Everywhere, there are dots to be connected in a ceaseless unfolding of events.  We at Restore the Delta are grateful for all the pairs of eyes watching what is [...]

Panel calls Delta recovery plan woefully incomplete

Panel calls Delta recovery plan woefully incomplete Questions remain despite four years, $140 million in research on estuary… Mike Taugher Contra Costa Times Read Online SAN FRANCISCO — A national panel of experts appeared frustrated Wednesday by gaping holes in a developing master plan for the Delta despite four years and $140 million in studies. The report provided the committee no straightforward description of the recovery goals for the Delta ecosystem, no analysis of water demands compared to available supplies and, perhaps most troubling, portions of an ongoing study on the environmental effects of the proposal were described as woefully incomplete. How can the panel review the science behind the plan, asked Denise Reed of the University of New Orleans, [...]

Go With The Flow

Go With The FlowZeke GraderPacif Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Association, Executive DirectorSF Gate, Read Online A few years ago, a fresh effort to deal with the state’s perennial water problem was announced. Candidly, it hardly infused salmon fishermen and seafood consumers with starry-eyed optimism. The Bay Delta Conservation Plan was hailed by the Schwarzenegger administration and its legislative allies as a process that would pursue “co-equal” goals of Bay/Delta restoration and water delivery reliability. But as BDCP proceeded, it soon became obvious that the San Joaquin’s corporate farmers held all the aces, notwithstanding their junior water rights status. There was nothing “co-equal” about it: the basic plan calls for construction of two massive 33-foot diameter tunnels big enough to suck [...]

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