Lodinews.com

default avatar
Welcome to the site! Login or Signup below.
|
||
Logout|My Dashboard

New plan to build a peripheral canal will affect us here in Lodi

Print
Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Tuesday, February 24, 2009 10:00 pm

For millions of Californians, San Joaquin County and the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta are a sort of glorified plumbing system through which passes the water they need to get on with their lives.

Last month, the Delta Vision Committee released its strategic plan for the Delta. The multi-year Delta Vision process, with all its hearings and solicitations for input, appears to have been mostly a public relations tactic to justify the solution the governor, the Resources Agency and export contractors have favored all along: an "alternative conveyance," or peripheral canal.

They want to build a massive piece of infrastructure to ensure reliable water for other parts of California. It will be 500 to 700 feet wide, 40 to 50 miles long and up to 10 feet above ground level.

They say they plan to protect the Delta environment also. But since they have no way to increase the total water available for all uses, and since exporters will surely take what they need first, as they've been doing for decades, we shouldn't expect much more than promises regarding fish, other wildlife or Delta agriculture. Promises like that are what got us into the present crisis with smelt and salmon.

There are several reasons why Lodi residents might care about what is happening west of town.

First, as I pointed out in an earlier column, we drink groundwater here, and the water table is dropping. Diverting Sacramento River water will turn the Delta into a brackish inland sea. The hydrology of the whole region will change, and then Lodi will have to worry about saltwater intrusion into its drinking water.

Second, the conveyance plan and the strategies used to develop it are so flawed that litigation is certain. This will cost everybody a lot of money, "everybody" being taxpayers. It will also cause delays. Meanwhile, resources are being diverted from less ambitious but potentially effective strategies for fixing the Delta.

The governor is prepared to move forward with this whole thing without either voter or legislative approval. A decades-old attorney general's opinion reputedly gives him the power to do this. He wants construction to begin in 2011.

Meanwhile, current drought conditions appear to warrant some kind of immediate action. It doesn't help that a federal judge has shut down the export pumps at Tracy to protect fish, especially the Delta smelt.

Congressman George Radanovich of Mariposa has gone to Congress with the California Drought Alleviation Act (CDAA), "a proposal to temporarily suspend the Endangered Species Act (ESA) as it applies to the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta pumping facilities during Gubernatorial declared times of drought emergencies until such conditions are alleviated."

Radanovich calls efforts to protect the Delta smelt "eco-terrorism." Thus the smelt joins other species that have in the past interfered with people's attempts to earn a livelihood.

But here, as in other cases, it is only partly about the smelt. The most vulnerable species are the ones that alert us that we are doing something unsustainable - something that may endanger other species, including homo sapiens, further down the line.

There is no question that limitations on exports and lack of reliable water supply hurt the agricultural economy in the southern San Joaquin Valley and Southern California. Jobs are lost, as they will be lost in San Joaquin County if conveyance advocates get their canal.

Last week at a water issues debate at Fresno State University, a reporter interviewed Lloyd Carter, a long-time journalist and water activist from Fresno. The interviewer expressed concern about the loss of 40,000 agricultural jobs on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley as a result of drought and reduced pumping.

Carter made some insensitive observations about the social problems that farm laborers, many of them illegal, create. This generated 20 seconds of sound bites pulled from an interview over 10 minutes long. Carter's point, lost in the editing, was this: "The farm economy of Fresno County does not spread the affluence."

According to Carter, water itself is the "new cash crop," worth more to farmers than whatever they can grow (and therefore whatever jobs agriculture provides). He notes that farmers are buying water from the public for less than $100 an acre-foot, but the same water is selling on the retail market for urban uses at $600 an acre-foot. Meanwhile, "it takes $750 worth of retail water to grow $150 worth of wholesale cotton." So "some people in agriculture are positioning themselves to resell their farm water to urban interests."

The Department of Water Resources has promised export contractors more water than can actually be delivered. Throughout the state, development has taken place based on this "paper water." And people south of the Delta have planted crops and hired workers and built businesses on the expectation that that water would be permanently available.

Now we have drought conditions, and the water isn't available. No alternative conveyance could magically create that water. The most it could do is to take water from someplace else that needs it, too.

So far, proposals for solving problems associated with the Delta have come from outside the Delta. But on Saturday, Restore the Delta is sponsoring a symposium at which local interests can be heard. "A Bold Direction: The People's Vision for the Delta" will address issues such as regional self-sufficiency, managing changing conditions in the Delta, current litigation, governance for the Delta and the controversial issue of a Delta Conservancy.

What happens to the Delta will affect everyone who lives in San Joaquin County and the rest of the Delta region. If you have ideas about some of these issues, you might want to attend the symposium. Registration information is available at www.restorethedelta.org.

Jane Wagner-Tyack studies and writes about land use and water policy. She serves on the board of directors of Restore the Delta (restorethedelta.org), a grassroots campaign focused on protecting recreation, agriculture and the environment in the Delta. You can reach her at janetyack@gmail.com.

Rules of Conduct

  • 1 Use your real name. You must register with your full first and last name before you can comment. (And don't pretend you're someone else.)
  • 2 Keep it clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually oriented language.
  • 3 Don't threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
  • 4 Be truthful. Don't lie about anyone or anything. Don't post unsubstantiated allegations, rumors or gossip that could harm the reputation of a person, company or organization.
  • 5 Be nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
  • 6 Stay on topic. Make sure your comments are about the story. Don't insult each other.
  • 7 Tell us if the discussion is getting out of hand. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
  • 8 Share what you know, and ask about what you don't.

Welcome to the discussion.

3 comments:

  • posted at 3:41 am on Fri, Feb 27, 2009.

    Posts:

    A 500' to 700' wide conveyance canal??Good Lord...that's HUGE! As wide as the San Joaquin River at some points! If this goes in, kiss off the "Delta" as we know it...we'll be left with something that looks like the salt evaporation ponds at the lower end of San Francisco Bay! ....FIGHT THIS MONSTER AT ALL COSTS

     
  • posted at 3:35 am on Fri, Feb 27, 2009.

    Posts:

    The "Delta Vision Committee" is a high faloot'n label for what appears to be a bunch of SoCal-influenced lobbyists,IMO. Watch every move they make(but you'll need a bright light to see them as they deliberately do their real work in the darkness so you CAN'T see what they are up to until its too late...like termites.)

     
  • posted at 1:07 am on Fri, Feb 27, 2009.

    Posts:

    Remember the MANTRA: "He who is UPSTREAM controls the destiny of those DOWNSTREAM".This NeoPeripheral Canal will AUTOMATICALLY put all of us here in the Delta DOWNSTREAM. We'll then be forced to take their leftovers. NEVER be DOWNSTREAM! SOLUTION? Let SoCal take the water from the BOTTOM of the Delta...as it is being done now...and NEVER allow the "suction point" to go UPSTREAM of the Delta!! Don't listen to the SoCal-controlled BS-meisters!

     

Recent Comments

Posted 10 hours ago by Joe Baxter.

article: San Joaquin County supervisors approve …

I am still wondering why someone that resides in Sacramento County should be concerned with San Joaquin County politics. Unless it is just …

More...

Posted 14 hours ago by Joanne Bobin.

article: Letter: Obamacare is not the program pr…

Good work, Mr. Barrow. You have identified many in the past, and now finally with some results!

More...

Posted 14 hours ago by Joanne Bobin.

article: Letter: Obamacare is not the program pr…

Thank you to the LNS for FINALLY rejecting a letter due to plagiarism. There have been countless instances of letters copied and pasted fr…

More...

Posted Yesterday by the old dog.

article: Letter: I’m not the one who should move…

Walter: Concerning "Swiftboats" another John did offend me. Kerry gives himself a Purple Heart while cutting himself shaving. …

More...

Posted Yesterday by Andrew Liebich.

article: Letter: Liberal policies damage our ind…

[sleeping] http://youtu.be/cA8FTjAzRR8

More...

Video

Popular Stories

Poll

Should graduations return to the Grape Bowl?

Lodi Unified leaders are moving Lodi and Tokay high school graduations from the Grape Bowl to the Spanos Center at UOP in Stockton. They cite limited seating, costs and unpredictable weather at the Grape Bowl. But others say graduations at the Grape Bowl are an important Lodi tradition, and one reason many supported renovating the stadium. What do you think?

Total Votes: 83

Loading…

Mailing List

Subscribe to a mailing list to have daily news sent directly to your inbox.

  • Breaking News

    Would you like to receive breaking news alerts? Sign up now!

  • News Updates

    Would you like to receive our daily news headlines? Sign up now!

  • Sports Updates

    Would you like to receive our daily sports headlines? Sign up now!

Manage Your Lists