Newsom must stop the Westlands water grab and save the San Francisco Bay-Delta
by Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Special to CalMatters
“Westlands is the 800-pound gorilla in California water politics. Years ago, fearing its water supplies were decreasing, Westlands hired David Bernhardt and paid him more than $1 million to be their lobbyist. Now that Bernhardt has become Trump’s Secretary of the Interior, the Westlands plan is in full effect.
“It took national news stories breaking about conflicts of interest between Interior Secretary Bernhardt and Westlands Water District for the Bureau of Reclamation to release a significant Westlands water delivery contract for public review.
“Within this new contract, water deliveries for up to 1.15 million acre-feet annually will be made available for Westlands to meet maximum contract allocations, despite worsening conditions for the Delta and its 4 million inhabitants…
“What should worry everyone in the SF Bay-Delta region is whether the Newsom administration will stand up to Trump and Bernhardt’s efforts to harm the Delta…
“A deliberate weakening of standards for water quality and quantity that results in more pumping could destroy the estuary before a shovelful of dirt is ever turned over for a Delta tunnel.
“The Newsom administration needs to make clear where it stands on Delta management. More importantly, the Newsom administration must act on its water values forcefully, and not succumb to the water grab being orchestrated by the Trump-Bernhardt-Westlands alliance.”