22 August 2012

No, Mr. Kightlinger. You're part of the problem.

RM sent me this bit of propaganda. I'll just point out fix some flaws.

Op-ed: In search of reliable water future
By Jeffrey Kightlinger
Pasadena Star-News

August 12, 2012

For years experts have known that the state's biggest water challenge is in Northern Southern California, where the rivers of the Sierra Nevada merge into the vast Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta people without enough water live on water taken from elsewhere. State and federal water projects draw supplies from the Delta that sustain the California economy unsustainable businesses, urban sprawl and grass lawns in the desert. Yet the Delta ecosystem has deteriorated over the years for many reasons lack of water. So in turn has the reliability of this vital water supply managers who promised unlimited supplies in 1952.*

The problem has defied a solution because of an inability to find common ground and get something done everyone wants to use more water for free. The Delta is a policy thicket of different stakeholder views, different regional perspectives and different water rights. The status quo is in no side's politicians' [PDF] best interest, nevertheless no new proposal will please everyone.

[Here comes the filler...]

Fortunately, there are encouraging signs that the Brown and Obama administrations are breaking through the gridlock. Over the last six years, they have worked with stakeholders and the best scientists and brightest engineers. This public process is developing the Bay Delta Conservation Plan, a bold set of water system and ecosystem improvements that are good for both the environment and water supply.

The Delta ecosystem needs restored natural habitat. Hundreds of miles of man-made levees have converted the Delta from a shifting labyrinth of marshland into a static set of tenuous islands. Nearly all the original wetlands are gone. To address this, the state and federal administrations propose to restore tens of thousands of acres of habitat in a manner that poses the least conflict to Delta communities and agriculture.

California water supplies need protection, too. These same levees could collapse in a predicted and inevitable moderate earthquake that could submerge numerous islands and cause salt water from San Francisco Bay to rush further inland. Climate change offers another long-term threat.

Transporting the water supply through a separate system - two proposed water tunnels under the Delta - would protect the quantity and quality of supplies. Public water agencies stand ready to pay for this solution, not the state or federal treasuries. The cost will be much less on a per-capita basis than the water investments of previous generations.

[This is just voodoo economics, an excuse to spend billions to MAINTAIN marginal supplies rather than reduce demand. Worse, most of the water will go to politically-connected farmers.]

Despite these clear improvements imaginations, the administrations are hearing skepticism from a vocal minority. Polls show an overwhelming majority of Californians people responding to polls that we like prefer a carefully conceived compromise. Six years of planning based on the best available science and engineering have gone into this proposal. In addition, hundreds of public meetings have been held. All sides have been heard. Now it's time to finish the studies and finally get something done.

Bottom Line: Let's ensure that our water supply stays reliable and that the Delta is on a path to ecosystem recovery to ensure the resurgence of California's vital economy. Let's stop taking water from where it belongs and move towards the sustainable self-sufficiency that will protect our environment, match our lifestyle to our resources, move businesses to practices that make sense, and favor local water managers over managers of large water-importing enterprises that have no purpose other than delivering promises they cannot keep for fat revenues.

Jeffrey Kightlinger is general manager of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.

* Page 32 of my dissertation says:

On December 16 1952, Jensen issued the Laguna Declaration in which MET guaranteed
Southern California's water supply:
The District is prepared, with its existing governmental powers and its present and projected distribution facilities, to provide its service area with adequate supplies of water to meet expanding and increasing needs in the years ahead. When and as additional water resources are required to meet increasing needs for domestic, industrial and municipal water, the District will be prepared to deliver such supplies.

Taxpayers and water users residing within the District already have obligated themselves for the construction of an aqueduct supply and distribution system. This system has been designed and constructed in a manner that permits orderly and economic extensions and enlargements to deliver the District's full share of Colorado River water and State Project water as well as water from other sources as required in the years ahead. Establishment of overlapping and paralleling governmental authorities and water distribution facilities to service Southern California areas would place a wasteful and unnecessary financial burden upon all of the people of California, and particularly the residents of Southern California.
Bold text was added to the original Declaration, which is now Section 4202 of MET's Administrative Code.

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