What Was Wrong, What Was Right, About Water Meet

By  John Derby
Times Publisher

October 27, 2016

Last week’s meeting with the executive director of the State Water Control Board was a good trial run for the meeting coming up on Dec. 19 in Merced, and Dec. 20 in Modesto.
However, people need to remember that this first meeting was with only one man and not the whole Water Board.
The meetings in December are with the full board and one person said the scheduling of the meetings right before Christmas was another sign of how poorly the public comment period had been scheduled.
This same group, and many more people, need to reiterate the many concerns which were brought out at the most recent meeting. We now know that the research conducted was done by college students who tend to lean toward liberal understanding of the problem.
That research did not take into account any other solutions to the problem of how to provide sufficient water flow for the salmon and the Delta environment. The idea that the fingerling salmon can not run the gauntlet of non-native predatory fish like the stripped bass.
The research did not consider what affect the restoration of the natural river bed would have on the salmon and the temperature of the water in the San Joaquin valley rivers due to the state’s droughts.
The research, which was supposed to be dealing with a balance between the environmental needs and the needs of the people who live and work in the valley, did not consider the loss of food products to the state and the nation when water is cut in half.
We have already seen major price increases at the grocery store, but in fairness of the research, these prices needed to be doubled, to see what affect it has on the people who depend on this food.
There were so many flaws in the research, and if there is to be any balance in the decision by the State Water Control Board, then the flaws need to be underlined.
One other major problem with the State Water Control Board is that it is not balanced. It is only answerable to the Governor Jerry Brown. The people of this state do not select these members, and they cannot be removed from the Board for good cause.
The State Water Control Board does not work at the convenience of anyone else's schedule. Meeting dates are changed at the whim of the board and its executive director. The latest deadlines of Jan 17 for the public comments, and mid July for the final approval of the State Water plan, is the decision made by the board.
Do these deadlines take into consideration that it took 20 years to come up with a new plan and less than six months to evaluate that plan which we can assume needs to last another 20 years?
Can this plan be changed once it is approved?
Is there time for local groups who oppose the plan to hire their own research team to challenge the findings of the in university research teams?
There are far too many unanswered questions regarding the plan which will put San Joaquin Valley agriculture at risk.
We strongly urge everyone who attended this most recent meeting, and others who failed to make it, to spend the next month preparing an organized assault on the research which the State’s Water Control Board is using for the basis of their latest plan.
The State's Water Control Board's plan will doom this valley to an even more severe recession than the one which we are just getting over. Let the board members know how bad this plan is.
Merced's meeting is Dec. 19 at the Multicultural Arts Center, 645 W. Main St, in downtown. Modesto's meeting is Dec. 20 in the Tuolumne River Room of the Modesto Centre Plaza, 1000 K Street.
Written comment received until Jan. 17 will be evaluated. More information is online at waterboards.ca.gov/waterrights.

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