Levine claims that Westlands Water District (WWD), DWR and Metropolitan Water of SoCal are conspiring to ignore the Delta's levees because they want to build a peripheral canal (PC) that will bypass the Delta.
Although Levine is right to point out the magnitude and distortions of subsidies (direct and via cheap water) that WWD gets (and right that these guys want the PC, at all costs), she's gone off the hysteria scale with:
- her scattergun use of "WWD's billionaire farmers;"
- her defence of levees (that should have been abandoned years ago);
- her claim that WWD is using free markets and avoiding regulation (when WWD is no free-market creature; it only exists because of subsidies);
- her claim that the PC will cost $40 billion;
- her claim that people in SoCal will die if the Delta levees collapse (they won't they NOW use half their water on their lawns, so losing the half -- really 30 percent -- that comes from the Delta will not matter);
- and her claim that "the Public Policy Institute of California is a pro-billionaire think tank working out of UC Davis...for Bechtel," which is wrong:
- PPIC is based in San Francisco; the report was funded by a member of the Bechtel family but also by the pro-environment David and Lucile Packard Foundation.
- The PPIC report justifies the PC based on the needs of urban SoCal.
[The PC would enable] a full-fledged "water market" would allow them [a handful of farmers and urban water districts] to acquire and sell Northern California's water to the highest bidder, like any other commodity.WTF? The PC would allow these guys to BUY water for local use. NorCal water sellers would make a killing. But wait, there's more:
The details are opaque, but word out on the street among Delta water activists is that the deal comes down to this: Westlands and their billionaire farmer buddies will team up with Southern California real estate developers if all water transfers from the Delta first go through them. That way, the farmers would become the de facto middlemen in California's water market, harvesting subsidized water from the Delta at below-market cost, storing it in their vast underground water reservoirs and then flipping it to Southern California cities and suburbs for a massive profit.I don't know what gangsta crewe Levine belongs to, but mah homies tell me that the Valley is in the middle -- geographically -- but that SoCal urbans will eat them for lunch (financially, politically) rather than pay them an extra dime. If anything, the Valley Guys have made a killing off of public mismanagement (the CVP, SWP, environmental water account, etc.); the end of "public resource management" would reduce their obscene profits.
Bottom Line: There's a lot of propaganda and misinformation around water issues, and this piece is full of it. (Read this -- via JWT -- instead.)