[env-trinity] Editorial Don’t give control of Delta water to S. California
tstokely at att.net
Sun Jan 28 14:47:42 PST 2018
http://eastbaytimes.ca.newsmemory.com/publink.php?shareid=2ad191e21EditorialDon’t give control of Delta water to S. California Seven years into Jerry Brown’s final tour as governor, his promise to create a reliable water delivery system that protects the health of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta is in shambles. His twin-tunnel fixation was ill-conceived and, for Northern California at least, unacceptable, and he is not giving up.His administration is expected to announce a new strategy soon that should alarm South Bay and East Bay residents, businesses and water system operators.The Associated Press reports that the governor is considering removing control of design, construction and operation of any Delta project from the state Department of Water Resources and giving it to the water agencies that pay for it. This means any Delta water conveyance project would be largely driven by Southern California’s Metropolitan WaterDistrict. Metropolitan is the largest supplier of treated water in the United States, serving 19 million people in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego and Ventura counties. Its thirst is unquenchable. Doug Obegi, an attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council, warns that “We’ve seen Metropolitan promote junk science before. Ceding control to them is a recipe for problems.”It would indicate that the state is not managing its water resources on behalf of all Californians but only of water districts buying into his twin-tunnel plan.Intensifying concerns is Brown’s choice this month of Karla Nemeth to run the state Department of Water Resources, whichmanages the California State Water Project and is supposed to manage and protect the state’s waterways.Nemeth is married to Tom Philp, a Metropolitan senior strategist, but that’s just part of the conflict. The bigger concern is Nemeth’s own connections to Metropolitan, which paid her salary for two years when when she worked for the California Resources Agency.This could solidify Met’s ability to speedwater south from the Delta.The governor also is likely to announce that the $17 billion plan for two massive tunnels under the Delta will be scaled back initially to a single tunnel at around half the price. But it will be framed as a project in phases, leaving the prospect of a second tunnel still very much alive. Metropolitan, with its support from the state water resources department, can declare victory.Six years ago Sen. Dianne Feinstein called on the National Academy of Sciences to study the Delta because the agency “is the only body whose views will be respected by all the relevant parties as a truly independent voice.”The academy concluded that the best approach to reduce demand for Delta water was pursuing more efficient water use. It said pouring more water, not less, through the Delta to San Francisco Bay was the best way to preserve its health.Brown’s interests are clear: Send water south. We’ll be looking carefully at his wouldbe successors to see who will stand up for the Delta — and for Northern California’s economy and water supply.Gov. Jerry Brown is reportedly weighing removing control of any Delta project from the state and giving it to the water agencies that pay for it, which largely means Southern California’s Metropolitan Water District.STAFF FILE PHOTO
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