26 Jul 2012

California's Delta plan

...is badly designed, either through incompetence or corruption.*

The current "plan" (via DL) to build two $14 billion "peripheral tunnels" to convey water around the Sac-SJ Delta to farmers (75%) and cities (25%) in central and southern California suffers from three fatal defects:
  1. Users are not going to pay for the tunnel in proportion to their use (other people's money!).
  2. There's no sign that users have functioning demand management programs in place (that means markets for farmers and scarcity water pricing for cities). There's no point in giving them the same/more water until they do.
  3. The conveyance -- and exports it implies -- does nothing to restore the Delta ecosystem.
I give the current proposal an "F" for (1) subsidies to special interests, (2) inefficiency, and (3) unsustainability. In other words, it's another example of policy failure in my home state, which saddens me.

Bottom Line: California needs a wholesale reorganization of the way it manages water in policy and practice. I'm not going to waste my time on its current failures until I see some sign of seriousness.**
* See the Delta Vision Foundation, Jeff Michael's blog and analyses, and this PDF for more background and criticism from people who know a lot more than I do.

** I reserve the right to comment on novel expressions of stupidity or corruption.


Karen Medders said...

In my humble opinion, the entire concept of BDCP, all water/infrastructure are based upon in incompetence AND corruption...they go hand-in-hand.

The Corrupt Ones require the Incompetent Ones to achieve insanity on this scale.

Karen Medders

Haley Greenberg said...

Two things...

1. Great turn out and really inspiring speakers at the rally yesterday on the steps of the Capitol building in Sacramento. As someone who's come to California to see how water management gets played out in this state, it was nice to see so many advocates from so many interest groups, educated and aware of these major issues.

2. That being said, this is an atrocious mockery of water policy. A plan for increased diversions in an already vulnerable, complex delta system, without adequate cost/benefit analyses, environmental impact reports, and a long-term perspective, will just continue to polarize the state and not "solve California's water wars once and for all," like dear Gov. Jerry Brown claims. Californians, keep up the fight!


Anonymous said...

If you really want to fix the Delta water quality issues, start with all the municipal sewer systems dumping millions of gallons of partially treated sewage into the Delta.The politicians and citizens of Sacramento and surrounding municipalities fel they have a right to flush their problems into the Delta. I, for one would rather see the $14B spent on upgrading sewage treatment plants and increasing water storage through a new dam at Temperance Flat. This peripheral tunnel project is nothing more than Browns attempt to ctart a fight between northern and southern California water users.

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