From News Line, a daily compilation of farm water news distributed to CFWC members and others upon request. To receive News Line, click here.
Coalition response…Rep. John Garamendi’s opinion on what the Bay Delta Conservation Plan is doesn’t seem to be rooted in the facts. Saying the Plan “…doesn’t create one gallon of water, but takes water from the Delta, destroying it in the process,” is contrary to the science that has been driving the BDCP for seven years. In simple terms, returning the Delta to a more natural “east-to-west” flow is better for fish and allows water in the system to be moved to water rights holders when plentiful supplies are available.
This year is a perfect example. When huge amounts of water were flowing in December and January, Endangered Species Act restrictions cut water deliveries by more than 800,000 acre-feet. If used to produce food, that quantity of water is worth more than $2 billion to California’s economy. But all that happened was the water flowed to the ocean without ANY measurable environmental benefit. Mismanagement of our resources hurt people from the Bay Area to San Diego.
I suspect Congressman Garamendi’s upcoming plan will have something to do with “fat levees” or “regional self reliance,” neither of which provide real protections against earthquakes, meet the water supply needs of California or the co-equal goals of ecosystem restoration and water supply reliability. If that’s the direction he’s going then his plan is a non-starter, both legally and from a water supply perspective. On the other hand, if Congressman Garamendi is willing to talk about why 93 percent of the baby salmon end up in the bellies of predatory fish lurking in the Delta or how he plans to clean up poor water quality that has altered the base of the Delta food chain, then there is hope for progress.