Calleguas Water District Responds to C-WIN Letter to Editor

In Trinity / Klamath by c-win0 Comments

C-WIN’s Carolee Krieger wrote a letter to the editor in the Moorpark Acorn about an article on the BDCP.  The Calleguas Water District responded back to her letter.  All 3 items are below.

Carolee’s LTE:

http://www.mpacorn.com/news/2014-08-14/Letters/Conservation_plan_is_flawed.html

Conservation plan is flawed

Many thanks to Anna Bitong for covering the Calleguas Municipal Water District’s endorsement of the Bay Area Conservation Plan.

As Ms. Bitong states, however, critics of this scheme are numerous and for a very good reason: it is ruinously expensive and environmentally destructive, and it will not achieve its putative goal of increasing water deliveries to southern California ratepayers.

Where’s the story?

Why is the BDCP doomed to failure? Because it is a mere water conveyance system, not a procurement system.

California’s developed water supplies are dependent on snowpack in the Sierra Nevada, the Shasta/Trinity Mountains and the Cascade Mountains. In fact, California water rights claims exceed the amount of available water by more than five times.

The massive twin tunnels that would be authorized by the BDCP will do nothing to augment state water supplies. During drought years—such as the one we are now experiencing—the tunnels will run at a trickle.

Indeed, the only true beneficiaries of this project are corporate farms in the western San Joaquin Valley and the Tulare Basin. They will receive twin tunnels water at the expense of urban ratepayers, because their costs for participating in the BDCP will be disproportionately lower.

And just what is the expense for this useless white elephant? The Brown administration’s current estimate stands at $67 billion. But state infrastructure projects, as we all know, typically post massive cost overruns.

Independent analysts put the final tab for the twin tunnels at around $100 billion, inclusive of all debt service and maintenance costs.

Resistance to the twin tunnels is growing, so the Brown administration is attempting to subvert public will by lobbying urban water districts to impose ad valorem taxes on property owners. Under a loophole in state law, such a water tax can avoid Proposition 13 proscriptions on raising property taxes without a public vote.

This clearly would be water taxation without representation, and it represents a cynical disregard for participatory democracy by the Brown administration. Don’t let them get away with it.

Carolee Krieger

Santa Barbara

Krieger is the executive director of the California Water Impact Network

The original article:

http://www.mpacorn.com/news/2014-08-07/Front_Page/City_gives_support_to_Bay_Delta_project.html

City gives support to Bay Delta project

Calleguas seeks backing from county leaders
By Anna Bitong

Local lawmakers, agencies and cities have backed a $25-billion plan to build two 35- mile tunnels to move water more efficiently from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta to water purveyors serving 25 million people in the state, including more than 600,000 Ventura County residents.

Developed over seven years, the Bay Delta Conservation Plan also aims to protect the water supply during natural disasters, allow water to be captured and stored during wet years, and restore and protect the ecosystem of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, said Eric Bergh, manager of resources at Calleguas Municipal Water District.

Where’s the story?PointsMentioned Map8 Points Mentioned

Calleguas serves 630,000 customers in southern Ventura County with water imported by the Metropolitan Water District almost entirely from the California State Water Project’s Sacramento Bay Delta.

The project, which has been endorsed by Gov. Jerry Brown, could break ground in late 2016 and would take 10 years to complete, Bergh said.

“What we’d like to do is get a flat line in terms of reliability,” he said. “It’s critical that we’re able to move water south of the delta into storage during wet years.”

But critics of the plan argue that the proposed tunnels would drain even more water from the delta, pollute the freshwater estuary and harm its ecosystem of more than 500 animal and plant species.

They say better options are conserving water, desalinating groundwater and recycling wastewater.

Bergh said those tactics are not enough to boost the water supply.

 

If the Bay Delta plan goes forward, single-family residences inThousand Oaks and Simi Valley, where all of the water supply is imported, could expect their monthly water bills to rise incrementally by up to $10 over the 10-year construction period, he said, meaning monthly rates would generally rise by $1 each year for 10 years.

In Camarillo, where about half of the water is imported, households would pay up to $5 more a month over 10 years. In Moorpark, where about 75 percent of the water is imported, the typical monthly water bill would rise an estimated $7.50.

Bergh said that rate increases associated with the plan “would remain for the term of the longterm debt (revenue bonds) that will likely be used by the state to finance the BDCP, similar to how initial State Water Project facilities were funded 50-plus years ago.”

The plan’s supporters include the cities of Simi ValleyMoorparkCamarilloOxnard, and Port Hueneme, whose councils voted to back the plan.

Thousand Oaks is the only Ventura County city served by Calleguas that has yet to formally support the plan.

Mina Layba, the legislative affairs manager for the City of T.O., said the city wants to wait and learn more about the plan before committing to it.

“ There were a number of concerns. We wanted a clearer approach,” Layba said. “We wanted to learn more about it and know the issue through and through. We didn’t want to jump the gun.

U.S. Rep Julia Brownley (DThousand Oaks) was among the lawmakers who signed a 2013 letter to Brown and Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell to express support of the BDCP process “as it lets the public evaluate how the BDCP achieves the most appropriate water conveyance and ecosystem conservation plan,” the letter said.

Brownley has not stated her position on the plan itself. In a statement to the Acorn she said, “I believe that water reliability and environmental stewardship should be co-equal goals in ensuring that Ventura County’s agricultural, residential and commercial communities can continue to thrive.

“As the Bay Delta Conservation Project public comment period continues and California state agencies evaluate and review the proposal, I will continue to advocate for what is best for my constituents.”

‘Broken link’

In the 1950s Gov. Edmond Brown began development of the State Water Project. The initial plan was to build water pumps to move water from the northern Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, where 85 percent of the water flows come in. Instead, the pumps were built in the southern delta, where they can reverse the natural flow of the water and pull in fish, Bergh said.

Each year, hundreds of millions of gallons of usable water escape into the Pacific Ocean because the pumps are unable to divert the water at the delta.

“ Because of the political winds of the day, (Brown) just couldn’t get it done,” Bergh said of the decision. “The Northern California, Southern California ‘you’re stealing our water’ battle really reared its head back in the late ‘50s, early ‘60s. We finally see a glimmer of hope here now.

“(With the BDCP) we would have more flexibility and efficiency in terms of where you’re pulling water, how you’re moving water through the system. That’s the bottom line. The delta right now is and has been a broken link in the chain of the State Water Project.”

The new tunnels would make up for water delivery cutbacks, Bergh said. To protect the Delta smelt fish and salmon, restrictions have been placed on water pumping.

“We have times of the year that trigger a throttling down of pumps because salmon are in close proximity,” Bergh said. “Over the last seven years the State Water Project lost almost 3.5 million acre feet of water (into the Pacific). What does that mean? Roughly a two-year supply for the Metropolitan Water District, or a year now given the demands. For Calleguas, that’s over a 30-year supply for us.”

The loss hit the hardest in 2013, the driest year on record, Bergh said.

“If the Bay Delta Conservation Plan had been in place, if the facilities were in place, we wouldn’t have lost any of this water,” Bergh said. “This really hurts because here we are in 2014 starting to mull mandatory cutbacks next year. We’re good this calendar year, but into 2015 if things remain dry there’s a high likelihood that we’re going to slide into mandatory cutbacks.”

A flood or severe earthquake in the Bay area could also affect the water supply by causing the delta levees to break, allowing saltwater from the San Francisco Bay to contaminate the delta’s fresh water. Such an event could reduceVentura County’s imported water supply for years.

“(The BDCP) is not about more water, it’s about not losing more water. It’s about maintaining reliability.”

The draft BDCP is available to for public review and comment through July 29. To learn more about the plan, visitwww.baydeltaconservationplan.com.

The new tunnels would make up for water delivery cutbacks, Bergh said. To protect the Delta smelt fish and salmon, restrictions have been placed on water pumping.

“We have times of the year that trigger a throttling down of pumps because salmon are in close proximity,” Bergh said. “Over the last seven years the State Water Project lost almost 3.5 million acre feet of water (into the Pacific). What does that mean? Roughly a two-year supply for the Metropolitan Water District, or a year now given the demands. For Calleguas, that’s over a 30-year supply for us.”

The loss hit the hardest in 2013, the driest year on record, Bergh said.

“If the Bay Delta Conservation Plan had been in place, if the facilities were in place, we wouldn’t have lost any of this water,” Bergh said. “This really hurts because here we are in 2014 starting to mull mandatory cutbacks next year. We’re good this calendar year, but into 2015 if things remain dry there’s a high likelihood that we’re going to slide into mandatory cutbacks.”

A flood or severe earthquake in the Bay area could also affect the water supply by causing the delta levees to break, allowing saltwater from the San Francisco Bay to contaminate the delta’s fresh water. Such an event could reduceVentura County’s imported water supply for years.

“(The BDCP) is not about more water, it’s about not losing more water. It’s about maintaining reliability.”

The draft BDCP is available to for public review and comment through July 29. Go online towww.baydeltaconservationplan.com to learn more about the plan.

The response from the Calleguas Water District here:

http://www.mpacorn.com/news/2014-08-21/Community/Calleguas_responds_to_letter_to_editor.html

Calleguas responds to letter to editor

By Susan B. Mulligan
Special to the Acorn

On behalf of the Calleguas Municipal Water District, I would like to respond to the Aug. 14 letter from Carolee Krieger titled “Conservation plan is flawed” while also providing additional clarity on the Bay Delta Conservation Plan and the benefits for our region.

Ms. Krieger neglects to mention that Calleguas is not alone in its endorsement of the BDCP. Twenty-five other cities, agencies, and organizations in Ventura County have also expressed support. Collectively, many of these entities are responsible for providing water service to over half a million county residents.

Ms. Krieger states that the BDCP will not achieve its goal of “increasing water deliveries.” This is not a goal of the program.

 

The promise of the BDCP is to bolster reliability of imported state water that our region relies on to meet roughly 75 percent of its water needs.

At public meetings, Calleguas representatives have clearly stated that the BDCP is about securing supply reliability and will not generate one drop of new water. It is important to note that those of us charged with providing reliable water service for area residents and businesses realize that under increasingly stringent environmental regulations we will not receive additional water from traditional supplies in the future. We are simply trying to maintain the supplies received in the past. From a water supply perspective, the BDCP is designed to provide just that—nothing more.

As outlined in various presentations on the BDCP’s costs and benefits, abandoning the BDCP will likely result in further erosion of water supply reliability by about one-third for the 25 million Californians reliant on the state and federal water projects.

At an estimated $25 billion —including a sizeable contingency— it is costly, but without this water source, we would have no other option but to pursue more costly alternative supplies such as ocean desalination, which is double the cost of state water.

A stark sign of the severe limitations of Delta water conveyance is visible at San Luis Reservoir, now at 20 percent of capacity.

In 2013, the driest calendar year on record, we missed an opportunity to move an estimated 900,000 acre feet of water into south-of-Delta storage facilities due to pumping restriction triggered by the Endangered Species Act. As noted by state water officials, if BDCP facilities had been in place, this water could have been pumped to storage. In the backdrop of the current historic drought, these are opportunities we can ill afford to miss.

For more on the BDCP, visit www.calleguas.com/bdcp.htm.

Mulligan is the general manager of Calleguas MWD

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