29 Nov 2010

Westlands takes its toys home

Westlands Water District has pulled out of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (via BB et al.), claiming that it is unwilling to spend time or money on a process that does not guarantee that water deliveries will be equal or higher to their historical level.

Fleck, Aquadoc, Carter and OTPR all have posts on this "development." I think that WWD has made a mistake in not playing ball. It seems that WWD (and SLDMWA, a related organization) think that the new Republican majority will deliver them a gift (more free water) that they cannot currently get in the BDCP negotiation. I'm betting that the Republicans will be too busy fighting in DC to pay attention to farmers who lack the lobbying clout of defense contractors, Wall Street firms, and oil companies.

But I am glad to have WWD away from the table, where they could sabotage negotiations at every turn with new items for the agenda, further studies, and so on. It will be easier to reach an agreement on the Delta without WWD. (It's still not certain!)

Oh, and here's WWD's 5 page 22 Nov resignation letter to the Department of the Interior [PDF]. Read it to learn a little more about WWD's pain and suffering in this unfair world.

Bottom Line: The end of abundant water means that some water users will get less water. That's a fact. The only response to it is to try to find ways of minimizing the cost of allocating whatever water remains. WWD needs to play that game, instead of wishing reality away.