The Anatomy of the Proposed Water Grab
Fall 2008–The Schwarzenegger and Bush Administrations Use Drought Fears to Launch the Westlands-Kern-MWD Plan to hijack water supplies. They pretend it is AN ECOLOGICAL PLAN to Restore Delta estuary salmon and ecology.
February 2009—Ecological plan to restore delta estuary and salmon recovery is changed to include unsustainable water contract deliveries for Westlands and Kern water contractors.
March 2009—In a back-room deal, federal and state water officials obligate taxpayers to subsidize water for huge corporate agribusiness by signing agreements to divert fresh water flows around the delta, including unsustainable water contract deliveries. MWD, Kern and Westlands water contractors to oversee and virtually direct the effort. No public review or comment.
—Similarly to the subprime mortgage debacle, Westlands’ contractors issue interest-only debt to finance the secret plan to raid Northern California water and send it south. Taxpayers and ratepayers will pay off these risky loans when the 45-mile peripheral canal/tunnel is finalized. Page 1 Page 2 Volume I- Environmental Advocates Attachments I 8 …deltacouncil.ca.gov/get-document/3508
September 2009—Senator Feinstein, at the request of Stewart Resnick, a billionaire from Southern California who owns and operates some of nation’s largest farming operation, presses the Obama administration to get the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to review two federal biological opinions, stating that the NAS….. “is the only body whose views will be respected by all the relevant parties as a truly independent voice.”
Media reports found that as one of the West Coast’s largest estuaries plunged to the brink of collapse from 2000 to 2007, state water officials pumped unprecedented amounts of water out of the Delta, then bought some of it back at taxpayer expense at a 150% mark-up, further enriching huge corporate water contractors such as Resnick while failing to protect the environment and endangered salmon.
[See Contra Costa Times @http://www.revivethesanjoaquin.org/content/pumping-water-and-cash-delta]
November 2009— 2 am water legislation passes the California Legislature with automatic incorporation clause § 85320(e) that requires adoption of peripheral canal/tunnel unless a State or Federal Wildlife officials object. The water export plan is disingenuously promoted to the public as having “co-equal goals” to “restore the Delta ecosystem” and “maintain a reliable water supply.”South of the Delta water-takers assume definition of ‘reliable’ means ‘more water’.
February 2010–Facing objections from a dozen West Coast lawmakers, Sen. Dianne Feinstein drops her controversial bid to direct more water to Westside San Joaquin Valley farmers, overriding protections for the threatened and endangered fisheries of the San Francisco Bay – Delta Estuary.
February 2010—Kern, MWD, and Westlands reveal pipe sizing (two pipes, each 33 feet in diameter), plan to divert most delta estuary fresh water flow through a ‘conveyance.’ Plan includes some tidal marsh restoration, but without essential fresh water flow needed to restore salmon and delta ecology.
April 2010—The first new intake pumps opens to take water from the Sacramento River around the delta.
August 2010—State Water Board determines delta estuary and fishery protection needs 75% of the Sacramento River flow from November through June, and 60% of the flow from the San Joaquin River from February through June to protect public trust values of the San Francisco Bay Delta Estuary.
September 2010–Governor Schwarzeneggar removes water bond from the ballot. He claims no public vote required to expend the $20 to $50 Billion to build the pipeline that will drain the delta.
May 2011–National Academy of Sciences issues peer reviewed report stating science is lacking in California Bay Delta Conservation Plan. Critical missing components, include clearly defined goals and a scientific analysis of the proposed project’s potential impacts on delta species. The scientific information in the plan is fragmented and presented in an unconnected manner, NAS says, making its meaning difficult to understand.
December 2011–Senator Feinstein’s Budget earmark paves way for easier water sales to Resnick, Westlands, MWD and Kern water contractors.
March 2012–California water planners release 10,000 pages of scientific documents, framing the plan to increase water exports to drain the Delta, claiming also to restore the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta while draining it.
May 2012–State and federal wildlife agencies issue ‘red flag’ warning that the proposed BDCP project may, in fact, harm some species it is supposed to restore.
June 2012–California Resources Secretary Laird announces plans to proceed with the Two-Pipe Tunnel, each 33 feet in diameter to transport most of the fresh water flows around the delta some 45 miles to the south for export to Westlands, Kern and MWD water contractors.
Eberhardt School of Business, University of Pacific, reports that rate payers at the LA area Metropolitan Water District will pay 75% of the cost of the tunnel/pipe, and yet, only receive 25% of the water exported from the Delta