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.

1 comment:

  1. What would be anyone’s reaction who enjoys playing softball and be told in the sixth inning that the other team would be getting five outs per inning while your team only gets one out? Westlands and SLDMWA began their participation in the BDCP process in good faith as water contractors ponied up nearly $140 million. Interior Deputy Secretary David Hayes told BDCP principals in a recent meeting in Washington, D.C., that an additional $100 million was needed from water contractors for studies that will likely result in less water for them but more water for fish. How does this compare to a 1994 statement by then-Interior Secretary Bruce Babbit who told water users that if additional water would be needed to protect threatened or endangered fish, federal officials would buy it---no further cutbacks to supplies to farms and cities. “A deal is a deal,” Babbit said. Where is the good faith by Interior officials?

    Mike Wade
    California Farm Water Coalition


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