Newsletter

Where do we go from here? We keep going.

Today is a new day, and not a day to feel defeated. As we reflect on yesterday’s decision, it becomes clear that we have a choice on how we move forward—we can choose to accept defeat or choose to see where we have made tremendous progress and keep going. As we are seeing on many fronts in our country, there is a disconnect between what Californians are looking for in terms of public planning, and a sustainable use of our resources for the greater good, and what political leaders insist on doing. They may have won the battle, but this effort to cling to the last century’s methods for water management in California will not hold. The long arc of [...]

One Major Way to Stop the Tunnels in 2018

Dear Friends of Restore the Delta:   We are very grateful for your support that comes to us in many ways throughout the year — from attending events and key government meetings, to writing comments, to making contributions.  You are the glue that holds our efforts together.   This is why in 2018, we are asking you all to make a concentrated effort to let your local elected officials (at the city, county, state, and federal levels), and candidates running for statewide offices why you oppose the Delta tunnels.  It doesn't matter which candidates you support.  What matters is that they understand that the Delta tunnels are an environmental and economic boondoggle and that there are many better solutions for [...]

California WaterFix, WaterFantasy

<bodyDenial can be a very powerful motivator. On September 26, 2017, we saw what was perhaps the greatest display of institutional denial in California water planning at Metropolitan Water District’s Board Workshop on California WaterFix.   Throughout Southern California, a number of MWD member agency board members, various city council members, and elected officials of all stripes had indicated in recent weeks that they were looking to the MWD workshop for answers to specific questions about costs and water delivery allocations for WaterFix before they could give their approval for the project. These sentiments were even echoed by officials who wanted to see WaterFix move forward, but who, quite understandably, also wanted to ensure that sound financial planning was in [...]

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 [...]