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It’s just for discussion. Really.

So what is in this 70-page document? For one thing, it includes material that never had a public hearing. “Although many of the concepts and descriptions within this context document have been discussed in the BDCP Steering Committee, others have not.  Therefore, information within this Document should not be attributed to the Steering Committee.”   The Steering Committee was just a forum for discussing issues. In other words, not really a STEERING committee. Among the water supply goals and objectives is this:  “Improve long-term water supplies  of the SWP and CVP to amounts consistent with those prior to the implementation of the most recent Biological Opinions through improved water conveyance.”  Someone says we can’t have that much water again?  Ignore them. [...]

But let’s not just be negative

By the way, the tunnel being proposed is 45 miles long and so wide in diameter (29 feet) that small planes could fly through it. Maybe the state could sponsor flight competitions to help pay the cost of building the thing.  They certainly won’t be able to use it full-time for conveying water.  Even Northern California can’t produce 15,000 cfs of water 24/7/365.And we can create jobs in California for pilots providing tunnel inspection services.

Earthquake risk: foolish solutions, wise solutions

In her latest blog post on The California Spigot,  Patricia McBroom reports on new USGS findings that the threat of Delta levee breaches in an earthquake is greater than anyone thought. The report is based on the response of Delta soils to ten small earthquakes (up to 4.2 magnitude) that have occurred in the East Bay since 2007. The USGS had monitors at eight places in the Delta, including four on Delta levees. Exporters who want to continue diverting water from the Delta will be using the new USGS report on earthquake threat to bolster their argument for isolated conveyance. That’s exactly the wrong message to take away from this report. Assuming it is true that earthquake threat to the [...]

Segue to a dandy non-dam storage option

In McBroom’s blog, Greg Gartrell of the Contra Costa Water District suggests that in the event of seismically-induced levee breaches, water supplies might be compromised for three to four months by salt water intrusion before fresh water has a chance to flush the system. In the meantime, some Californians could be using water stored in the 32 square mile Kern Water Bank, if the bank were being used as originally intended. We’re always talking about the Kern Water Bank (KWB), so we thought we’d provide some facts from the Bank’s own FAQ page. Click here The Bank has readily accessible storage for 1.5 million acre feet of water, enough to supply 12 million people for a year. That’s if the [...]

Private water sales: They’re not happy in Hanford, either

Last week the Hanford Sentinel reported that the Kings County grand jury has criticized the board of supervisors and the Kings County Water Commission for not doing more to stop the sale of water out of the county. Click here for article Last year, Sandridge Partners, a Bay Area firm with substantial farm holdings in Kings County, sold $73 million in water (several times the normal cost) to the Mojave Water Agency in San Bernardino County. Later, a second water transfer from the same Dudley Ridge Water District near Kettleman City, sent $14.3 million in land and accompanying water rights to the Irvine Ranch Water District. Meanwhile, the nearby Westside region is overpumping groundwater. And in Kern County, where the [...]

The Principals are not our pals

Members of Congress and the California legislature have sent a letter urging Lester Snow and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to open up the closed door talks now underway among “Delta Principals.”As we reported in our last newsletter, a small group of unidentified people has been meeting to work out a deal for the Bay Delta Conservation Plan.The letter includes a series of questions for Snow and Salazar, including: What is the role and objectives of the Delta Principals Group? Is this a new group or a separate new process?Who are the principals?How were the principals identified and what criteria used in determining which groups/representatives would be allowed to participate?Are the proposals being discussed based on the best available science?Signing the [...]

Take action now! Progress threatened by closed-door meetings

Every bit of progress made in the past year to curtail pumping and give habitat a chance to recover is threatened by the close-door meetings now taking place among top water agency officials, regulatory agencies, and three environmental groups. State Resources Secretary Lester Snow is coleading closed-door sessions to negotiate an agreement about the Bay Delta Conservation Plan before Governor Schwarzenegger leaves office. No one from the Delta is part of these meetings. Restore the Delta has learned that Snow is now taking a “non-public” proposal to the group. It includes a proposal for Delta operations and governance that allows flexibility but requires only a “best effort” from agencies to avoid additional water impacts. The proposal also allows DWR and [...]

The Delta Protection Commission gets a new director

We congratulate Mike Machado on his appointment as director of the Delta Protection Commission.  He will take over September 20, replacing Linda Fiack, who is retiring. Restore the Delta will be sorry to lose Machado’s expertise on its board of directors, but we are happy to have such an experienced and knowledgeable person directing the DPC.

By invitation only

Governor Schwarzenegger addressed the Bohemian Grove oligarchs at the end of July in a keynote speech on an “undisclosed” topic.  If you’ve never heard about this shadowy institution of America’s elite movers and shakers, click here read Dan Bacher’s recent editorial on the subject. As Bacher points out, this is the kind of secrecy we’ve come to expect from the Governor who pays lips service to transparency while promoting processes like Delta Vision, the Bay Delta Conservation Plan, and the Marine Life Protection Act Initiative. Any transparency in these processes is the nose-against-the-window variety.  We can see what’s going on, but we can’t influence it in any meaningful way. Too often, we can’t even see what’s going on. We couldn’t [...]

Secrecy and deceit of a failed administration

Last week, Mike Taugher reported in the Contra Costa Times that key people – including some of those institutional enviros – have been meeting behind closed doors to work out a deal for the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP).  The Governor really wants that canal, and he prefers to do water policy closeted with a few of his best friends. Click here for article The people at this small table in the closet need to figure out just what they are going to build and how much water it will carry.  They need to figure out how to split the water between farming, urban users, and the environment.  They need to figure out which fish can still be saved, and [...]