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Mr. Pilkington's letter is dangerously misleading

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Posted: Friday, July 3, 2009 10:00 pm

A June 29 letter asks people within the North San Joaquin Water Conservation District to oppose sending water to the city of Stockton. The letter by NSJWCD Board member Bryan Pilkington is dangerously misleading.

NSJWCD is committed to the restoration and preservation of our groundwater basin. Our two principal tools are providing irrigation water from the Mokelumne River to farmers so they may pump less, and developing recharge basins where river water can seep in the ground.

However, we must repair old pipelines, extend new ones and lease locations for recharge basins. This is why we are charging farms, industries and residents a fee for pumping water from the ground. With enough time and money, we will develop a system that will utilize our entire water allocation from the Mokelumne River.

Our allocation is only granted in wet years. In some of these years, even after fulfilling the needs of all those within reach of district facilities, additional water is still available.

In 2007, the NSJWCD Board petitioned the state to enable us to share this extra water with our neighboring water districts to the south, rather than allow it to escape down the Mokelumne and flow out to sea, or be pumped from the Delta and sent to Southern California.

The board wants permission to share water with our neighbors in the Stockton East and Central San Joaquin water districts. When farmers there pump from the ground, they pump from the same aquifer we do. Sharing water with them is to everyone's advantage.

And the nice part is, we can deliver our surplus water to these neighbors via existing channels and creeks. Despite what Director Pilkington implies, the NSJWCD would not spend tax dollars to develop infrastructure to benefit an entity outside our boundaries.

Director Pilkington opposes this plan and has rallied 55 people to file protests with the state. His action consumes district resources responding to this issue.

Director Pilkington favors allowing the unusable water to be lost in the ocean or sent to Los Angeles. The folks there will be pleased by his efforts.

Tom Hoffman


North San Joaquin Water Conservation District

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