For decades, the Bay Delta has been identified as the most likely alternative to develop more water for all Californians.
The recent release of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan Draft EIR/EIS is another step toward achieving a more reliable water supply for millions of Californians and farmers who grow our food, according to Mike Wade, executive director of the California Farm Water Coalition.
“California's water supply system has become unreliable and needs upgrading for the current and future demands of its residents. Farmers need reliable water supplies to grow food on millions of acres of productive farmland,” Wade says.
The Bay Delta Conservation Plan aims to stabilize water deliveries from the Delta and contribute to the recovery of 56 species of plants, fish and wildlife over the 50-year life of the plan.
A lot of non-political work went into developing the 9,000-page conservation plan and its corresponding 25,000-page EIR/EIS. The public has reviewed drafts of these documents and significant changes were made from those comments. Still, there are concerns and unanswered questions.
However, this seems to be the best plan to date to generate more critically needed water as soon as practical.
It needs tweaking, but it does not need to be trashed as a basketful of splinter groups claim. They say it is too expensive and unnecessary. The groups include the likes of Today Food and Water Watch, Restore the Delta, 350 Silicon Valley, the Dean Democratic Club of Silicon Valley, the Environmental Water Caucus, First Generation Farmers and the Raging Grannies. (I love the last one.)
The Raging Grannies and friends target most of their criticism on the twin tunnels proposed to move water under the Delta. They say developing more water would cost too much and water rates would increase. Critics claim water rates would go up $7 to $10 per month, probably half what the Raging Grannies spend each month at Starbucks.
Every time the state puts out a report on the plan, this group puts out venomous news releases; espousing tired old arguments like the plan will only benefit “large, powerful corporate interests that represent oil and corporate agribusiness.”
The Bay Delta Conservation Plan has been developed through seven years of analysis and hundreds of public meetings.
It’s still not perfect, but it cannot be trashed or defeated at the polls, which is where it is headed.
The debate of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan is no political game. California must develop additional water for a growing population and to preserve a major source of food for this country and the world.
Seemingly lost in the debate is the fact that California is an earthquake away from losing a major water source. The Delta is deteriorating. The levees would crumble in a big earthquake. If nothing else, the tunnels would protect California’s most valuable water supply.
The reasons to continue to move forward on this plan are far too compelling to be derailed by a selfish few.