(This story previously appeared in the Fresno Bee.)
From Modesto Bee - Monday, Jan. 21, 2013
Coalition response...The reporter does a good job in presenting the ongoing efforts of farmers and water districts voluntarily working together to solve their problems relating to water supply and subsidence. These groups have already funded research to gather vital groundwater information to be used in reaching solutions. Their goal is to protect the groundwater that is important to so many.
This effort of working together to solve a local issue is reflected in other issues, such as drainage and river restoration. Farmers and water districts in the Grasslands Drainage Project Area near Los Banos have worked with government and environmental groups to reduce the runoff of minerals into the San Joaquin River. Restoring flows and salmon to the San Joaquin River has also benefited from voluntary efforts that provide needed information to help these ongoing efforts.
Farmers and water district officials realize that working together results in protecting a food supply that is grown on their lands. To do otherwise would threaten a food supply that is both healthy and affordable.
From San Diego Union-Tribune - Sunday, Jan. 20, 2013
Coalition response...This is not a new proposal. It has been part of the project review documented all the way back to last March and can be found here. Proponents of this "new" proposal have taken the current two-tunnel project and cut it in half to only one, reducing its ability to deliver water to farms that need it now and to meet the future needs of cities later, as the article describes. They're also proposing a reduced ecosystem restoration program in the Delta, cutting back more costs but also reducing the effectiveness of those projects for the environment. Under the guise of cost cutting they have dramatically swept aside years of study that have resulted in the two-tunnel proposal. On the eve of the plan's formal announcement, this plan suddenly is being shopped as a new idea. It's not.
The "new" proposal does not provide a solution to a broken water supply system that threatens our state. This editorial admits that it will not answer long-term needs. Water supply reliability has declined, affecting everyone from urban residents through higher water costs to the farmers that grow fresh fruit and vegetables destined for the grocery store. The end result is fewer locally grown food choices and higher food costs, all at a time when the economy is just beginning to recover.
Significantly absent from this group of environmental organizations and business groups are public water agencies that represent large areas of some of the state's most productive farmland. Not surprising, this "new" proposal would be devastating to farmers in California's San Joaquin Valley, home to some of the most productive farmland in the world.
Planning for a reliable water supply must continue to move forward. Saying that a smaller approach that ignores the needs of California's farm community is a step backwards and is the wrong choice for California.
From Porterville Recorder - Monday, Jan. 21, 2013
From Modesto Bee - Friday, Jan. 18, 2013