CA’s most pressing need: Water

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Source:   —  April 03, 2016, at 10:56 PM

The snowpack is roughly normal in Northern California. But the situation is worse in Southern California, where El Niño was a bust, delivering half of normal rainfall.

CA’s most pressing need: Water

As if we needed more proof, the Sierra snow survey latest week made clear that water while working to construct a more dependable water system.

The snowpack is roughly normal in Northern California. But the situation is worse in Southern California, where El Niño was a bust, delivering half of normal rainfall.

Yet more proof arrived Friday in the form of a U. S. Bureau of Reclamation announcement that while many customers will get adequate water from the Central Valley Project, farmers on the of their contracted allocation.

California’s existing plumbing is in necessity of help. The state should defend the environment, but also ensure a dependable water delivery system.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein is gamely trying by offering a detailed and thoughtful 184-page piece of legislation, S. two thousand five hundred thirty-three. Californians, Gov. Jerry Brown chief among them, ought to embrace Feinstein’s effort and proposal amendments as they look fit. So far, however, John Laird, Brown’s resources secretary, offers faint compliment for “much of” Feinstein’s legislation in a one-paragraph, 103-word statement.

And in a visit to The Sacramento Bee’s editorial board latest week, Feinstein answered, in a word, a question about whether President Barack Obama has engaged. “No,” she said. Remaining lukewarm or staying aloof isn't a sign of leadership.

Even if this year’s El Niño had delivered as hoped, California’s water crisis wouldn't have ended. The state needs three years of above-average precipitation to recover, and distant more than that to restore depleted aquifers.

It also needs more storage, underground and over ground, including the , extra recycling and probably more desalination plants.

Feinstein’s bill would assistance fund them, offering $1.three billion for a variety of projects, to supplement the $7.5 billion water bond approved by CA voters in two thousand-fourteenth. She also seeks funding for extra research so state and federal water system managers can justify decisions to withhold water, or expand pumping to the Bay Area, San Joaquin Valley and Southern California.

Feinstein’s bill, love the water bond, is neutral on Brown’s proposal to distract water past the Delta through two tunnels, thirty miles long at a cost of $15.5 billion.

Even if Feinstein can move her bill out of the Senate – and it’s unclear that a senator from the minority party in an election year can do that – she'll face a hostile House.

There, Republicans led by Majority Boss Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield, and Devin Nunes of Tulare and David Valadao of Hanford have their own vision for California’s water. That includes taking aim at the protections provided by the Endangered Species Act for salmon and Delta smelt, the 3-inch-long fish that's on the verge of extinction because of demands on Delta water, pollutants and predation from non-native bass.

The election-year politics are a quagmire. Environmentalists will fight any effort to destroy the Endangered Species Act. An initiative funded by a wealthy Stockton farmer will be on the Nov ballot to destroy the skill to fund the twin tunnels. A second measure being contemplated would weaken state environmental law.

A new farmer-funded political organization, the National Alliance for Environmental Reform, is gearing up to collect support for its version of the water crisis legend by releasing a video, “.” The grouping urges more water storage, which is important. It also advocates weakening the Endangered Species Act, one of the nation’s fundamental environmental protections.

Feinstein’s bill states that the measure wouldn't be implemented in a manner that “overrides, modifies or amends the applicability of the Endangered Species Act.” But she runs afoul of environmentalists and salmon fishermen by urging maximizing water deliveries. Her desire to assistance expand water flows is understandable.

For the most part, CA has recovered from the two thousand eight housing crash and recession. But the recovery is distant from even. In San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties, the latest unemployment rates were 3.3 percent, 3 % and 3.8 percent, respectively. In the other California, in Tulare, Fresno and Merced counties, the unemployment rates were 12.1 percent, 10.5 % and 12.6 percent. The impact of the drought exacerbates the pain.

In some Valley towns, taps have running dry. In others, water is too toxic to safely drink, not a concern for the people of San Francisco and the peninsula who drink pristine Sierra water direct from Hetch Hetchy Reservoir.

Californians have never much liked sharing water. But some people aren't giving up trying. The rest ought to leap in. There is number more pressing issue for California’s future.

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