Why Doesn't S.F. Chronicle Want Drought Declaration?
They don't want us to get the water. "Does it make economic sense to environmental protections to move around more water?" They obviously don't think so.
Jan 17, 2014
Headline in S.F. Chronicle: California drought? We're not there yet - Too soon to use the 'D' word. Headline in Central Valley Business Times: USDA names California counties for drought disaster assistance. I could give you a good list of other newspapers who have dared to call the drought a drought. If you want to see some of them, see our newsletter 'Can't Make It Rain' from earlier this week. In the newsletter we explain some of the reasons the governor doesn't want to declare a drought, one of which is that it would force him to either deliver water to farmers in the San Joaquin Valley through the delta pumps, or refuse to do so because of his environmental allies. People in the Valley can't understand why this is such a tough decision. They think it's a no-brainer. They think the governor doesn't understand. Don't kid yourself. He 'gets it' and knows exactly what he's doing. A drought declaration puts him in a box where he will have to make a decision, and the decision would let farmers in the Valley know exaclty where they stand. They stand right behind environmentalists and just about everybody else.
The Chronicle admits as much when they say, "It means the governor, by making the declaration of a drought emergency, may lift environmental protections that help our bay-estuary to allow water transfers to other parts of the state." They don't want us to get the water. They go on to ask, "Does it make economic sense to environmental protections to move around more water?" They obviously don't think so.
There are other things that a drought declaration would do like give the governor the power to force release of water from behind the dams controlled by the Bay Area that are at or above 90 percent today. Hetch Hetchy project and Pardee and Comanche reservoirs have stored water away from the Delta during this entire drought! By the way that water is not from Northern California it is from South - Central California. It is the epitome of arrogance and hypocrisy. The governor should have already declared a drought emergency as every day millions of gallons of fresh water that could have been diverted continue to flow to the ocean and we can never get it back! Did we not learn anything from last year?
The environmentalists did learn something. They learned they can get away with it.
S.F. Chronicle: California drought? We're not there yet Too soon to use the 'D' word
For days now, Californians have looked skyward each morning, searching for the merest hint of rain. So far, they've mostly been unrewarded (although San Francisco did record 0.02 inches last week). Now the drumbeat to use the 'D' word is getting louder.
Yes, 2013 was the driest year in California on record. Yes, scant rain has fallen this winter, but historically, California receives most of its rain and runoff between January and April. We have weeks to go before the real worry should set in.
Legally, drought means much more than no rain. It means the governor, by making the declaration of a drought emergency, may lift environmental protections that help our bay-estuary to allow water transfers to other parts of the state.
A declaration doesn't create water or money. It may allow the governor to redirect certain funds, typically unspent water bond funds. Those dollars are scarce, however, with the last water bond in 2009.
In anticipation of continued dry weather, the governor did issue an executive order in May to expedite water transfers "from voluntary sellers to voluntary buyers," according to the Department of Water Resources. Water transfers aren't in themselves bad - they are how Bay Area water agencies have prepared to weather this dry period.
The question before the governor takes that step is this: Does it make economic sense to environmental protections to move around more water? The governor's Drought Task Force is meeting weekly but so far has made no recommendation.
Bay Area water agency officials also are watching the skies and their reservoir levels, which are not unusually low but are unusually slow to fill this year. They are asking their customers, for whom as Californians water conservation is a way of life, to voluntarily do a little bit more to use water wisely. Check for plumbing leaks, bring your car to a car wash that recycles water, don't spray down your sidewalks.
Many water districts are offering rebates for water-conserving measures such as installing high-efficiency toilets or replacing lawns with drought-tolerant plantings.
But so far, no one except for the San Joaquin Valley growers and their advocates, is using the "d" word. It's premature at this point.
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