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 [...]

From the Golden Gate to the Tower Bridge

One night, two events, two different views on managing California water Last Wednesday night, folks interested in California water had two big public events to choose from. One was a slick and very political sales pitch; the other was a thoughtful discussion of science. One event was held at the Sacramento Bee headquarters, and the other at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco. Both were happening at the exact same moment and the contrast between the two serves as fascinating bookends of an ongoing battle over how to best plan for California’s water future. Restore the Delta was at both events. Here is our report. Sacramento At the Sacramento Bee event, General Manager of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern [...]

Delta Flows: Will Senator Feinstein Defend the San Francisco Bay-Delta Estuary?

Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Restore the Delta June 3, 2016   It may be time to admit a sad truth – the anticipated 2015-16 El Niño did not end California’s drought. Most of the rain and snow fell in the north. Southern California received only about half its normal rainfall. In fact, the State Water Resources Control Board began sending out yesterday water curtailment notices, orders that tell junior water rights holders that they cannot use water. Senator Dianne Feinstein recently toured California newspaper editorial boards to tout her California Drought Bill, S.2533, which she claims will expedite water deliveries to agricultural interests in the southwestern San Joaquin Valley while still protecting endangered fish in the SF Bay-Delta Estuary. As Senator Feinstein [...]

Delta Flows: May 20, 2016

8 Reasons We Don’t Support the Garamendi/Feinstein Bills By: Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla As our readers are well aware Senator Dianne Feinstein’s drought bill (SB 2533) now has a companion bill in the House of Representatives. Congressman John Garamendi introduced HR 5247 this week which completely mirrors Senator Feinstein’s legislation. What our readers do not know is that Congressman Garamendi has attempted a full court press on Restore the Delta to support this legislation beginning back in February. When Congressman Garamendi released his draft legislation, he approached Restore the Delta to support the bill. After reading the bill and being in conversation with environmental experts, fishery experts and Delta water district attorneys, we concluded that HR 5247 was another bad water extraction [...]

Delta Flows: May 12, 2016

Shallow Water: Solving Mysteries of Delta Islands Purchase by Tim Stroshane, Policy Analyst, Restore the Delta The headline for Water Deeply’s interview this week with Public Policy Institute of California scholar-celebrity Jeff Mount, “The Mysteries of Delta Islands Sale” about the recent Delta islands purchase by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, took us aback for its seeming naïveté from an acknowledged expert on the Delta and California water politics. To Delta folks, it is obvious what Metropolitan Water District wants by purchasing five islands here (Chipps, Webb, Bouldin, Holland, and Bacon): greater control over the destiny of its export supplies from the Delta. What’s so mysterious about that? The point about control was succinctly argued in 1960 by [...]

Delta Flows: May 5, 2016

By Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla Restore the Delta has recently focused a lot of work on the relationship between Santa Clara Valley Water District (SCVWD) and San Luis Delta-Mendota Water Authority (SLDMWA). Understanding the relationship between these two special (or special interest) water districts and their relationship with Westlands Water District of SEC fame shows how special water districts work together on Delta exports and advocacy for the Delta Tunnels. San Luis Delta-Mendota Water Authority is a special district of 28 irrigation districts that draw water from the federal Central Valley Project, all located on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley, including Westlands Water District. Santa Clara Valley Water District, which receives municipal and industrial water deliveries, is also a [...]

Delta Flows: April 22, 2016

by Tim Stroshane I recently read an ostensibly scientific paper with the impressive title, “Economic and Water Supply Effects of Ending Groundwater Overdraft in California’s Central Valley” by several researchers led by Jay Lund, professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of California, Davis, and a researcher with the Public Policy Institute of California. The study was disappointing, and short on good science. Sadly, the Lund team’s results are often more “truthy” than complete. In 2014, the “Sustainable Groundwater Management Act” became law in California. This bill requires every groundwater basin in the state to get on a path toward sustainable groundwater management and usage by 2040, and to have a plan in place by 2020 or 2022, depending [...]

Delta Flows: April 12, 2016

by Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla I hadn’t eaten anything but a fried egg since about 6 am when finally around 9 pm we (RTD staffers) found a pizza joint in an adorable spruced up downtown Concord. We had just survived a depressing public meeting at the Contra Costa Water District (CCWD).   One of our staff joked that “water board”-ing can be a form of torture. That’s what this meeting certainly felt like.  That is why we also have such sincere gratitude for our 50 followers who came out, participated, supported us, and stayed to clean up the process so that we could travel to the next “water board” –ing event.   Showing up was necessary, but still not pleasant. CCWD had [...]