Rather than call out the hypocrisy of San Francisco’s complaint that losing nearly half of its Tuolumne River water to the State Water Board and environmental activists, let’s see these concerns as a “glass half-full” opportunity.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle’s opinion page, the city/county’s public utilities commission is concerned about losing much of its water to a state water grab with strong concerns rippling across the state.
In an opinion piece written by general managers of the San Francisco PUC and the Bay Area Water Supply and Conservation Agency, roughly 2.6 million Bay Area water customers would be severely impacted if state water regulators take 40 percent of their water through a plan to force about half the Tuolumne River to be released to the ocean with no diversions allowed.
In water language they call it “unimpaired flows.”
Perhaps this is a grand opportunity to get the big cities – those with the money and the votes – to join with California farmers from central and northern California to take a firm stand against draconian water grabs by the California Water Resources Control Board.
Northern California water users had better pay close attention to this as well. Just because they sit between Sacramento and big reservoirs constructed to serve as water banks for the rest of the state means little to nothing to renegade regulators and the environmental activists bankrolling the lawsuits that have led to such irrational behavior.
Stories reported lately suggest the next big attack will be an attempt to turn California’s water rights system on its head.
It’s not the 1914 law that separates junior from senior water rights holders that is the problem. The issue is 40 million people in a state vying for water supplies created decades ago for only 15 million people.
Couple that with environmental laws that favor wildlife over human beings and you wind up with third-world water conditions in Tulare County and farmers with no water to grow the crops that feed Bay Area and Los Angeles residents.
We have a golden opportunity for farmers, water users at both ends of the state and metropolitan voters to sit at the same table and agree on the common need for water and work together to achieve this.