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Goodbye “beneficiary pays”

Fran Spivy-Weber, who has served on the State Water Resources Control Board since 2007 and was recently reappointed by Governor Brown to another four-year term, was the keynote speaker at the California Municipal Utilities Association (CMUA) conference last week. (CMUA was formed “to protect the interests of California’s consumer-owned utilities before the California Legislature.”)

Spivy-Weber reportedly acknowledged that cost overruns for the BDCP were
“inevitable” and that discussions were underway to determine who would pay for these.

She is also reported to have said that commitment to “beneficiary pays” will not stand and the public will be called on to pick up some of the costs.

Of course, Spivy-Weber is not part of the BDCP planning process. Nevertheless, it is remarkable to have a representative of any State agency make these admissions. We saw this coming. At least here, we can all just stop pretending.

What we’d like to hear Spivy-Weber say is that the Water Board is going to come up with flow criteria for the Delta that actually balance the public trust with water export demands. It’s time to stop pretending about that, too.

But then again, State officials don’t have to bother with balancing the public trust if they believe that the Delta cannot be saved.

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