Newsletter

WaterFix Chaos, Colonized Delta, and California Democracy

By Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla and Tim Stroshane   In water agencies all over California right now, fevered phone calls between general managers and directors and attorneys and engineers are likely happening because of Westlands Water District’s vote to reject California WaterFix on September 19th:   Will the project have to get smaller or stay the same?   Will the state water contractors be able to afford the project without federal Central Valley Project (CVP) water contractors ponying up? If so, how?   Can the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) force State Water Project (SWP) contractors to support WaterFix even if it’s against their wishes?   Will project customers getting Delta imports have to pay higher property taxes for the project? [...]

California WaterFix: The Real Costs, Choices, and Criticisms

Over the years, some Northern California supporters of Restore the Delta have complained about Southern California water users by making specious claims that everyone down there “has a swimming pool,” or “waters their sidewalk” carelessly during periods of drought, while the Delta continues to decline with inadequate freshwater flows. We even have some supporters who maintain that the answer is to split the state in half, allowing Northern California to keep “its water,” while those people down south “figure out how to get their own water.” This is an idea that has been and will always be anathema to us, as we are all Californians, and the purpose of protecting and restoring the Delta is to ensure its future for [...]

From an LA Perspective: Solutions & Costs on Delta Tunnels

A year ago roughly, Roger Patterson from the Metropolitan Water District said that he would invite Dr. Jeff Michael, from the University of the Pacific to make a presentation to the Metropolitan Water District Board of Directors on the real costs of the Delta tunnels.   The invitation never happened.   So we hosted a meeting on the real costs of the tunnels with Dr. Michael as our special guest in Los Angeles at Boyle Heights City Hall. Here is a copy of Dr. Jeffrey Michael’s PowerPoint,  which explains the real costs of the Delta Tunnels Project.   Executive Director of LA WaterKeeper, Bruce Reznik, also gave a terrific presentation on the types of regional projects that should be done in Los [...]

Independent Science Review Panel Finds Problems with Delta Tunnels Biological Opinion

(Science Geek Edition)   An analysis by an Independent Review Panel has been made public by the Delta Stewardship Council (DSC).   The panel was convened by the DSC Science Program to provide the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and California Department of Fish and Wildlife with an independent analysis of the scientific information used in the California WaterFix (CWF) Incidental Take Permit application.   “This report suggests that the biological opinion has flaws and that the Delta Tunnels will be terrible for Delta fish – those that live here year round as well as those just passing through on their way to and from the Pacific Ocean,” said Tim Stroshane, Policy Analyst for Restore [...]

Metropolitan Water District: The Absentee Landlord

By Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Executive Director, Restore the Delta   In 2016, Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD), the largest of the State Water Contractors, spent $175 million to purchase Delta islands. Now they are trying to lease land back to the original owners, SemiTropic Water Storage Agency. MWD has learned that maintenance of Delta levees, water pumping, and water use tracking are big expenses for Delta landowners.   Similarly, Oroville Dam maintenance is expensive. Though warned in 2005 that the spillway was potentially dangerous, MWD and the other State Water Contractors fought against the maintenance and upgrades needed to keep downriver residents safe.   Now let’s consider MWD’s next big money item, the proposed Delta Tunnels.   That project [...]

Oppose Assembly Bill 313

By Tim Stroshane, Policy Analyst, Restore the Delta   Claiming that California’s “water management at the state level is broken,” Assembly member Adam C. Gray (D-Merced) plugged introduction of his Assembly Bill 313 via Maven’s Notebook on February 6, 2017.   In his cliché-ridden press release, Mr. Gray argues that “anyone who has tried to work with the state on water knows that the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing, conflicts of interest are the norm, and state agencies act as their own prosecution, judge and jury. The net effect,” he contends, “is an ineffective bureaucratic maze which leaves us unable to capitalize on vital opportunities and prioritizes special interests working behind the scenes over good [...]

Delta Flows: What Exactly is California DWR Selling Bonds For?

by Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, executive director, Restore the Delta October 12, 2016 UPDATE at 12:00 today: DWR will delay their response to our PRA request. Mr. Stroshane, Your California Public Records Act request (attached) sent to Director Mark Cowin has been forwarded to me for review and response. I’m replying to your request pursuant to the California Public Records Act, Government Code sections 6250 et seq. The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) has determined it maintains records responsive to your request. The records you request are maintained in separate file locations at DWR. We anticipate these records may be voluminous and will require a significant amount of time to locate, assemble and review. DWR is presently collecting and reviewing these [...]

Delta People Should Shut Up, Again

by Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla and Tim Stroshane Restore the Delta   Remember back in May of 2015 when Jerry Brown suggested critics of his Delta Tunnels plan should “shut up?”   Well, now Californians for Water Security are also asking SF Bay-Delta activists to please shut up. That’s not surprising coming from an astroturf lobbying campaign, launched with the support of the Paramount Farming/The Wonderful Company (Resnick). See the email traffic on group’s founding, released under the California Public Records Act.   What caused this new round of scolding by backers of the Delta Tunnels? Two things.   Most recently, they were upset about the news we released on a state-funded, economic analysis that found the Delta Tunnels are not feasible [...]

Should State Agencies Be Lobbying for the Delta Tunnels?

A recent email forwarded from one of our supporters seemed innocuous enough. The subject line read: “Op-Ed: WaterFix provides solution to California’s water woes.” These kind of emails are shared every day by people who follow California water policy. What was strange about this email was the sender, a government agency. From: CALIFORNIA NATURAL RESOURCES AGENCY The email was a heads up regarding an op-ed from Mike Mielke with the Silicon Valley Leadership Group arguing in favor of the Delta Tunnels (CA WaterFix). Pretty standard stuff. What seemed odd is when the email clearly wanders into grassroots advocacy: “Share Mike’s op-ed and these stats to make sure people know how crucial WaterFix is to securing clean water for 25 million [...]

Climate Change, California Water, and the Delta Tunnels

The Problem   In California, drought is the new normal.   Delta Tunnel proponents have tried to convince urban and agricultural water exporters that massive water deliveries will be available for capture and export to dry regions from big storm events.   Just one problem with that plan.   With less and less Sierra snowpack to melt, and fewer rainstorm events, there is no reliable water source for the Big Gulp. If constructed, using the Delta Tunnels at full capacity, 9,000 cfs (cubic feet per second), would only be possible during limited storm events, a huge waste of money for a project with a $17 billion price tag.   Most scientists agree that the key to fixing the ecological problems [...]