Bay Delta Conservation Plan
From: Bettina Boxall, LA Times
Of the many issues hanging over the proposal to burrow enormous tunnels under the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and replumb the hub of California's water system, the one most likely to make or break the $25-billion project is money.
Just who, exactly, is going to pay for it?
Coalition response...This article is full of speculation that results from water officials and agencies doing their jobs by investigating multiple alternatives. The Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) and its proposed tunnels has been seven years in the development process to create a reliable supply of water for 25 million Californians, many of them in Southern California, and 3 million acres of farmland. Farmers use the water that flows through the Delta to grow a food supply that fills the grocery store shelves throughout the state.
Failure to look at the "what ifs" in relation to BDCP would be a mistake in the planning process and, yet, this article portrays these possibilities as negatives.
The beneficiary pays concept is guiding the discussion of who pays for the construction and operation of the tunnels. In other words, those who receive the water that moves through the tunnels will pay according to the benefits they receive.
BDCP remains the best opportunity to secure a water future for California. It will safeguard the economy and protect the jobs we all depend on.
From: George Skelton, LA Times
The Brown administration and some water buffaloes want to muck up one of the most unique, mysterious and picturesque areas of California. Muck it up literally.
OK, they're really trying to update California's vital waterworks and prepare the state for the future.
Coalition response...The Bay Delta Conservation Plan and its proposed tunnels provide multiple benefits that will be felt throughout the state, including the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta which this columnist refers to as a "Huck Finn paradise." The author correctly cites the soil or "tunnel muck" that will result from the underground boring for the tunnels that will be used to shore up the Delta levees. This is a substantial benefit that will not only protect the residents of the region but also those who rely on the water that flows through the Delta in avoiding the consequences of an earthquake.
The cost to Southern California residents for the tunnel construction is estimated at only $3-4 per month per household that will receive BDCP water. Compared to other costs, such as cable TV, a cell phone or even a good latté, that's cheap insurance for something as vital as the water supply that we depend on every day.
Fish and wildlife will also benefit from the Plan. The effect of south Delta pumps that the author says "chomp up fish" will be greatly diminished with the tunnels. The tunnels will deliver water to the pumps and reduce the pull of water and fish from the main channels of the Delta to the pumps.
The sandhill cranes that visit Staten Island are one of the 57 species listed under the BDCP that will receive increased protection and long-term benefits. Characterizing the cranes as "victims" of the BDCP is misleading since they are already scheduled to benefit from planned ecosystem improvements to occur in the Delta region.
There should be no confusion that the Bay Delta Conservation Plan will provide benefits to people, farms and business while creating a reliable water supply and restoring the Delta ecosystem. The result is a secure water future for California.
From: Matt Weiser, Sacramento Bee
When it comes to water supply in California, nothing is easy or cheap. Experts will tell you the simple solutions were tapped decades ago, and most new water development projects are about stretching whatever water nature has left.
Coalition response...Matt Weiser does a good job explaining the statewide consequences of failing to invest in our water supply infrastructure. Public water agencies have a responsibility to deliver water to their customers and part of that includes planning for the future. Central Valley agriculture and Southern California businesses provide California with the economic vitality and the food to feed our families like no other place on earth. It takes dependable supplies of water to accomplish those goals and Weiser's explanation of planned system improvements is helpful in understanding that.
From: Jay Famiglietti and Sasha Richey, LA Times
Gov. Jerry Brown's Office of Planning and Research convened a meeting this month of groundwater experts from the University of California to determine what is currently known about the state's underground water reserves and how they may be changing in the future. This and other recent overtures from the office are strong indications of the governor's growing interest in the state's complete water picture.
Coalition response...Unreliable surface water deliveries have pushed farmers to groundwater in order to survive. When similar groundwater issues occurred in the 1920's the State and federal governments initiated the water projects that helped farmers continue to produce fresh fruits and vegetables for California and the nation. Today those projects are crippled by environmental regulations, such as the Endangered Species Act. A comprehensive solution, such as the Bay Delta Conservation Plan, which enhances the ecosystem and invests in new water facilities, is what's needed to resolve some of today's groundwater overdraft issues. Doing that should minimize future water supply cuts that have left hundreds of thousands of acres of farmland unproductive and unable to grow the food we all depend on to feed our families.
From: Mark Grossi, Fresno Bee
The state has not declared a drought after two dry winters, but farmers and city leaders in the central San Joaquin Valley don't need an official pronouncement.
Everyone looks at the bottom line in the Valley - the groundwater. Big withdrawals have been made this summer from the already sinking underground water table in the Valley.
Coalition response...Unreliable surface water deliveries due have pushed farmers to groundwater in order to survive. When similar groundwater issues occurred in the 1920's the State and federal governments initiated the water projects that turned California into a economic powerhouse. Today those projects are crippled by environmental regulations, such as the Endangered Species Act. A comprehensive solution, such as the Bay Delta Conservation Plan, which enhances the ecosystem and invests in new water facilities, is what's needed to resolve some of today's groundwater overdraft issues as well as the water supply cuts that have left hundreds of thousands of acres of farmland fallow and unproductive.
From: Valerie Gibbons, Visalia Times-Delta
After two years of drought Mother Nature is playing it close to the vest when it comes to forecasting the upcoming rainy season.
For the first time in a decade there aren't any El Niño or La Niña conditions in the equatorial Pacific that foretell either an unusually wet or dry winter in Central California. Warming of ocean waters by more than 1 degree can mean an unusually warm, wet winter with high snow levels. Cooling can mean a drier, colder winter with snow levels reaching down into the lower elevations with many storms.
From: Paul Rogers, Contra Costa Times
The storm that dampened the Bay Area over the weekend was like an old friend who doesn't visit much anymore.
And with good reason. Despite Saturday's healthy soaking, when it comes to 2013, it's been dry. Record dry.
Bay Delta Conservation Plan
From: Q&A, The Planning Report
Last month, the California Department of Water Resources announced changes to the Bay Delta Conservation Plan, a series of projects backed by Governor Brown to increase ecosystem restoration efforts and water supply reliability in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Valley. In the following MIR interview, Jeff Kightlinger, General Manager of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, details the recent adjustments to the BDCP. He also describes how the plan's various environmental, infrastructure, and water-related projects will be funded, as well as his own agency's efforts at conservation, efficiency, and consensus building across the Southern California Region. While aspects of the BDCP have been rethought, Kightlinger makes clear its necessity and statewide significance.
From: Antoine Abou-Diwan, Imperial Valley Press
Although recent storms in Colorado dumped a year's worth of rain in under a week and flooded many out of their homes, officials say the magnitude of water is unlikely to improve conditions on the Colorado River in the near term, where 14 consecutive years of drought and urban growth are squeezing water supplies.
From: Ian James, Desert Sun
With its shores slowly receding and its waters gradually growing saltier, the Salton Sea presents a set of complex dilemmas that have for years defied attempts at partial solutions. Douglas Barnum of the U.S. Geological Survey likens efforts to remedy its looming problems to juggling, trying to keep various balls in the air at once.