[env-trinity] Chico Enterprise Record 01 22 09

Byron Leydecker bwl3 at comcast.net
Thu Jan 22 10:30:06 PST 2009

Chico Enterprise Record

Pointed views on water transfers aired


Posted: 01/22/2009 12:00:00 AM PST

CHICO - Speakers at a recent Chico meeting sponsored by the Butte-Sutter
Basin Area Groundwater Users said the north state should pay attention to
ensure that water is not "stolen" for use in other parts of the state. 

A guest at the meeting was Tom Stokely, of the California Water Impact
Network. Stokely previously worked for the Trinity County Planning
Department for 23 years, "mostly to restore water taken from us," he said. 

Stokely shared his views of water projects in Trinity County in the 1960s
that he said resulted in water "stolen" from that waterway for use by San
Joaquin Valley farmers in the Westlands Water District. 

"I think they're looking in your direction," Stokely said of the Sacramento

He predicted water managers would "break every promise as they did with us"
in the Trinity River watershed. 

Westlands is an example of what not to do, Stokely said. The 600,000 acres
of farmland west of Fresno is an old ocean bed that receives less than 10
inches a year of rain, he said. 

The region has problems with salinity, which requires more water to leach
out salts. Also, the land has subsided 20-30 feet in areas, he said. 

Northern California currently has sustainable agriculture, Stokely said, so
it doesn't make sense to export water from here to other areas. 

"I strongly encourage you folks to stand up for your groundwater," Stokely

He referred people to an e-book at the Friends of Trinity River Web site,
www.fotr.org, titled "How the Trinity Lost its Water."

The discussion comes as the state Department of Water Resources is exploring
"conjunctive water use," which is management of water that combines surface
water and groundwater sources. 

Attorney Michael Jackson, who has been involved with numerous environmental
lawsuits and works closely with the Butte Environmental Council, reinforced
the views expressed by Stokely. 

"There are very seldom situations where conjunctive use is good for the
place that is the source of water," Jackson said. 

"You may find you have more allies in urban areas than you do here," Jackson

Locally, he pointed to the Butte Environmental Council as a player in the
water issues. BEC has filed lawsuits in the past, and will in the future, to
challenge water projects on the basis of the environment and environmental

As for Sacramento Valley districts interested in selling surface water and
pumping groundwater, Jackson said "if they have (surface) water they don't
need, it should be taken from them." 

He said that people who don't have access to surface water but rely only on
groundwater, don't have the ability to "double dip." 

A few people in the audience recommended people see the documentary "Flow" -
www.flowtheflim.com - about the world water crisis. 

In Butte County, voters passed a law that requires the county to approve any
transfer of groundwater out of the county as well as transfer of surface
water and subsequent use of surface water. 

For upcoming 2009 Drought Water Bank transfers, there is not enough time for
any agency in Butte County thinking of using groundwater to get through the
necessary government approval, county leaders have said. 

Speaker Bob Hennigan noted that only applies to Butte County, and other
counties share and can tap into underground water sources. 



Byron Leydecker, JcT

Chair, Friends of Trinity River

PO Box 2327

Mill Valley, CA 94942-2327

415 383 4810 land

415 519 4810 cell

 <mailto:bwl3 at comcast.net> bwl3 at comcast.net

 <mailto:bleydecker at stanfordalumni.org> bleydecker at stanfordalumni.org

 <http://fotr.org/> http://www.fotr.org 




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