[env-trinity] SF chronicle Editorial 7 23 2010
bwl3 at comcast.net
Fri Jul 23 10:39:11 PDT 2010
California's ailing water supply needs help
Friday, July 23, 2010
California's main water source - the delta junction of the Sacramento and
San Joaquin rivers - is not a bottomless well. It needs conserving, less
diversion and the political will to see the job through.
These points are all at issue in a report from the State Water Resources
Control Board, which reiterated in newer, fresher terms that delta siphoning
must be curbed in the name of fish, wildlife and the overall health of the
region's winding waterways, which it termed "public trust resources."
The document, advisory for now, is a bell-ringing reminder of the obvious.
California can't keep tapping the delta at the present rate without harming
it. The water board had piled up a shelf-bending supply of previous studies
saying much the same thing before being asked for its latest views as part
of a major legislative package approved last year to nurse the sickly delta
back to health.
The chief friction point, now as before, is cutting the flow of southbound
water for Central Valley farming and Southern California drinking supplies.
The report suggested cuts of 30 percent or more in these categories.
It won't be an easy sell. Farms recently won new water releases after
court-ordered curbs related to wildlife preservation. Agriculture and
municipal water agencies in Central and Southern California have accumulated
water rights and ample political power to blunt efforts to replumb the
But as the water board document shows, the danger of overuse can't be
explained away. The outcome doesn't need to be a harsh cutoff but a gradual
and determined shift in water use through conservation, technology and
Political gridlock on a hard issue is one option. Continued court fights
over water flow is another. Both are fruitless, divisive and depressingly
The California Legislature, which sought the report, should take the
warnings and tough recommendations embodied in the study to heart. This
state must come up with a better way to use and share its vital water
Byron Leydecker, JcT
Chair, Friends of Trinity River
PO Box 2327
Mill Valley, CA 94942-2327
415 383 4810 land/fax
415 519 4810 mobile
<mailto:bwl3 at comcast.net> bwl3 at comcast.net
<mailto:bleydecker at stanfordalumni.org> bleydecker at stanfordalumni.org
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