By Gary Bogue
Friday, September 18th, 2009 at 6:54 am in Restore The Delta.
Wednesday, Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Campaign Director for the organization, Restore the Delta, called on the California Legislature to include 9 ideas in future water package discussions following the failure of the Joint Water Conference Committee to pass a package of water bills during the final weeks of the 2009 Legislative session.
Check out what Restore The Delta has to say in their 9 ideas below and then please add your own comments and let us know what you think about it. Got any better ideas? Thanks. /Gary
“While we are pleased attempts to rush a package of flawed water bills through the Legislature this session were unsuccessful, Restore the Delta strongly believes a solution is needed to fix California’s complex water problems,” Barrigan-Parrilla said. “We have always agreed that water is one of the highest priority issues for our state, but it must be done in the right way. We would like to see the following 9 points included when water talks resume.”
There has been speculation of a special session on water this Fall or, at the least, continued discussions when the next session begins in January. In either event, Restore the Delta would welcome the opportunity to work with the Legislature to craft a water package that is good for the State and good for the Delta.
Restore the Delta would like to see the following ideas included in any water package as discussions resume:
** 1. A Habit Conservation Planning Process that looks at all the hydrological alternatives: including limited exports, no exports and other alternatives. That process would compare these alternatives using independent science to new conveyance. This process should include Delta representation, fisheries representation, tribal representation, and environmental justice representation at the Steering Committee Level and not just be a process driven by water contractors.
** 2. A full economic analysis of the value of Delta fisheries, farming, and other Delta assets to the state economy.
** 3. A real push for funding local water projects that will create more water for other California communities, including educating Californians on how to alter their water management practices to benefit the State. According to “California Water Solutions Now,” a report released in August by the Environmental Water Caucus (EWC), the State “has already developed enough water supplies to satisfy our needs into the foreseeable future by utilizing existing infrastructure and existing cost effective technologies.” The report notes that the level of reduction can be “as much as 5 million acre feet a year by 2030 compared with current trends.”
** 4. The creation of a Delta conservancy as proposed by Senator Lois Wolk.
** 5. A strengthened Delta Protection Commission.
** 6. A fully funded State Water Resources Control Board, that will enforce water quality standards for the Delta, as well as the superior water rights held by the Delta and in areas of watershed origin.
** 7. Emergency preparedness and flood prevention funding for the Delta – to protect urban communities and assets in the Delta.
** 8. A humanitarian package for Central Valley farm workers that will include emergency aid, economic development and job training for their communities.
** 9. If through these processes, it is decided that some type of new governance is needed to manage the Delta, then this new structure must include adequate local Delta representation to create a viable state-local partnership. Without local support and participation, any new plans and programs for the Delta will not succeed.
“Restore the Delta is optimistic the California Legislature can bring groups together to find common ground on these complex issues,” Barrigan-Parrilla added. “But that is true only if they commit to addressing the real water policy issues that impact all Californians. We look forward to working with them this fall and winter.”
About Restore the Delta
Restore the Delta is a grassroots campaign committed to making the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta fishable, swimmable, drinkable, and farmable to benefit all of California. Restore the Delta – a coalition of Delta residents, business leaders, civic organizations, community groups, faith-based communities, union locals, farmers, fishermen, and environmentalists – seeks to strengthen the health of the estuary and the well-being of Delta communities. Restore the Delta works to improve water quality so that fisheries and farming can thrive together again in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.