[env-trinity] Trinity Journal 11 18 09

Byron Leydecker bwl3 at comcast.net
Wed Nov 18 12:12:24 PST 2009


Proposals may divert additional Trinity water 
BY AMY GITTELSOHN THE TRINITY JOURNAL 



Trinity River advocates are on high alert with water proposals pending at
both the state and federal levels which they fear will result in more water
diverted from the river. 

On the state front, legislators and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger recently
passed a state water package meant to restore the Sacramento-San Joaquin
Delta and provide a more stable water supply to Southern California cities
and Central Valley farmers. 

But Trinity County's representative in the state Assembly, Wesley Chesbro,
D-Arcata, voted against the bills, saying that the emphasis should be on
water conservation, not making it easier to ship more water south. 

"This package makes it easier to access North Coast rivers and the Trinity
River," Chesbro said. "The water package sets up a streamlined
decision-making process for building a peripheral canal. . It locks the
voters out of the opportunity to decide as they did in the 1970s." 

The governor and new Delta Stewardship Council - most of whom will be
appointed by the governor - will have the authority to decide whether to
build the canal, Chesbro said, and that process is now in place regardless
of whether or not voters pass the bond measure also included in the package.


Probably next November, voters will be asked to approve the $11.1 billion
bond measure to pay for recycling, drought relief, water storage and
wastewater treatment programs. The $3 billion in that bond for water
projects down south "will increase the pressure on the Trinity and other
North Coast rivers for increased water export," Chesbro said. 

The use of general obligation bonds rather than revenue bonds means, "not
only do they want take our water, they want to make us help pay for it,"
Chesbro said. 

The water package includes false promises for the environment and guarantees
for Southern California farmers, said Tom Stokely, retired senior resource
planner for Trinity County and a board member for the California Water
Impact Network. 

The 20 percent reduction in water usage does not apply to agriculture, and
there are numerous loopholes for urban water agencies, he said. 

Furthermore, although the plan calls for groundwater monitoring, this does
not include regulation, Stokely said. 

Assemblyman Chesbro has signed on as a coauthor of a bill that would require
legislative approval of any future plans to build a peripheral canal around
the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and would also require a full fiscal
analysis by the Legislative Analyst's Office before any such project could
proceed. 

In another water issue, the federal Bureau of Reclamation has petitioned the
State Water Resources Control Board for an extension to the year 2030 on
certain CVP water rights permits, including seven on the Trinity River. 

Originally granted to Reclamation in 1959, but never developed, the Trinity
River permits in question promise allocations amounting to millions of
acre-feet of water in addition to what is already diverted to the CVP. 

The Trinity County Board of Supervisors has filed a protest to the extension
request because the permits in question were based on minimum in-stream
flows to the Trinity River of just 120,500 acre-feet, far less than the
Trinity River Record of Decision signed in 2000 calls for even in a
critically dry year. 

"I certainly will appear in support of Trinity County's efforts before the
water board," Chesbro said. 

>From Reclamation, Deputy Regional Resources Manager Richard Stevenson said
at this point the agency is merely seeking more time, until 2030, in which
to show how much water it puts to beneficial use under 32 permits, including
those for the Trinity. Based on that, the state board will determine
licensing conditions. 

At that stage the state board could consider requests to include the terms
and conditions of the Record of Decision, he said. 

"There are still plenty of opportunities to consider whether or not the ROD
terms should be incorporated into our permits," he said, noting "We are
operating to what ROD calls for." 

The state board has received 14 protests pertaining to the Reclamation
petition, and the agency is to be given time to respond to protests the
board accepts before the matter is placed on the board's hearing calendar. 

Still another water-related matter is being heard in the U.S. Senate. 

S. 1759, sponsored by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, would waive two requirements in
existing law in order to facilitate water transfers. One requirement which
would be waived ensures that water to be transferred would have been used
beneficially in the year it's transferred. The other requires that the
transfer not exceed the three-year average of water used by the transferring
agency. 

Stokely, from the Water Impact Network, said the effect of waiving those
requirements will be a drawdown of reservoirs, including Trinity Lake. 


 

 

Byron Leydecker, JcT

Chair, Friends of Trinity River

PO Box 2327

Mill Valley, CA 94942-2327

415 383 4810 land

415 519 4810 cell

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