Concerned about the possibility that Northern California could get stuck with the controversial peripheral canal proposal, the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors adopted a seven-page resolution on Tuesday to let state officials know where they stand.
In the resolution, the Board of Supervisors requests $900 million for water storage and conveyance, groundwater recharge and flood control projects in the Mokelumne, Calaveras and Stanislaus river watersheds. The county wants another $51 million for emergency levee maintenance efforts.
The bigger issue is to increase water supply through groundwater recharge and the construction of new dams, said county Supervisor Larry Ruhstaller, who has been representing the county on Delta water issues this year.
Ruhstaller criticized Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Legislature for trying to fast-track a plan to send Delta water to the southern San Joaquin Valley and Southern California.
"There are so many cooks trying to cook this broth," Ruhstaller said in an interview Wednesday. "God help us. (The state is) trying to cook it on high. They're not letting it simmer."
State Sen. Lois Wolk, D-Davis, said in an interview this week that the Legislature is beginning to submit bills about the Delta because Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's administration believes it has the ability to build the canal without legislative or voter approval.
"They are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars drawing plans now," Wolk said. "The contractors are paying for it. It will probably go to court over the authority to build it."
In other action
- The San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors approved plans to reroof the Thornton branch library, an estimated $70,000 project. The library has a potential leak from questionable flashing conditions in the skylight chimney shafts.
- The board reappointed Joe Petersen, of Lodi, and Scott Johnson,
of Stockton, to the Agricultural Advisory Board. Todd Otto, of
Acampo, also applied for Petersen's seat.
The resolution adopted Tuesday by the Board of Supervisors also includes several facets of the Delta's future and water supply in general. They include:
- A Delta plan based on preserving existing water rights and priorities.
- Repairing levees.
- A conservancy supporting local agriculture, tourism, economic sustainability, recreation and local government control.
- Appointing one county supervisor each from San Joaquin, Sacramento, Yolo, Solano and Contra Costa counties to the Delta Protection Commission, as well as other local representatives.
In addition to the Board of Supervisors showing its desire to sink its teeth into the peripheral canal proposal, two bills designed to protect Northern California interests were approved by a 7-3 vote of the state senate's Natural Resources and Water Committee on Tuesday, and a lawsuit was filed by the Central and South Delta water agencies to protect Delta interests.
The Delta bills that Wolk sponsored would create a seven-member council to approve the Delta Stewardship Plan, require the appointment of a Delta science and engineering board and protect the habitat, agriculture, recreation, public access, tourism, economic vitality and historical and cultural resources in the Delta.
One of the bills, SB 457, has been assigned to the Senate Local Government Committee, while SB 458 has been sent to the Senate Appropriations Committee.