On the afternoon of March 20, while the Water Board and BDCP were holding meetings at which the concerns of Delta residents were being spectacularly ignored, the California Water Commission was hearing from DWR about why they should consider and, presumably, adopt an amendment to the Resolutions of Necessity underlying the pending eminent domain actions in Sacramento and Contra Costa Counties.
DWR needs access to private property in the Delta to do “geotechnical activities” (exploratory drilling) to get information to build the Peripheral Tunnels. They wanted to have this done before the 2012-2013 rainy season began. They apparently need the information to complete the environmental documents for the BDCP, which are scheduled for release this summer.
Stockton attorney Thomas Keeling, representing many Delta landowners and reclamation districts, told the Commission that history is about to repeat itself, with DWR not thinking through the implications of its request for an amendment, and failing to show, as required by the California Code of Civil Procedure, that the drilling is compatible with or more necessary than existing public uses to which the properties are already appropriated.
This Resolution of Necessity process has involved a series of complicated back-and-forth legal arguments that even the Water Commission was apparently not aware of. However, commissioners did seem concerned about the shortcomings in the material DWR had presented in support of its proposed amendment. The Commission directed several requests to DWR for additional information to be considered at the April 17 hearing on the proposed amendment. We will follow that with interest.