If the decision tree led to different water supply yields, they could, said Meral, augment water supplies by buying upstream. With this strategy, irrigators in the north are paid to use less of the water they have rights to so that those in the south can use more. What often happens is that irrigators in the north then use groundwater instead, depleting Northern California aquifers. We should certainly be putting a price on that.
Analyst Deirdre Des Jardins notes that BDCP models assume that wet and dry years are equally likely, although climate science suggests that we’re on a trend to more dry years. She requested modeling for the driest scenario. She also noted that any reduction in diversions to the Yolo Bypass will reduce habitat. “To benefit fish,” she observed, “the habitat has to be under water.”
Dr. Michael asked Dr. Sunding if regulatory certainty requires an isolated facility. Sunding said they didn’t consider that. Of course not. His analysis isn’t about regulatory certainty, or even about reliable water supply, which might be achieved by a variety of alternatives. Sunding is being paid to justify building a peripheral canal.