Chemists Without Borders

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Saturday, October 10, 2009

California Water Policy

I got this letter from my state legislator last week. Posted without comment.


Dear Mr. Xxxxxxxxx:

California’s lack of water could result in more than 800,000 acres of farmland going unplanted this year. And if the current water shortage doesn’t improve, the Central Valley could lose $1.8 billion in agricultural revenues by the end of the year.

But what many people don’t realize is that a large part of our water supply crisis is due to a man-made drought. In 2007, environmentalists persuaded a federal court to drastically cut back intake at the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta water pumps in order to protect a 3-inch fish known as the Delta smelt. These environmentalists argue that the pumps harm the smelt’s habitat and are therefore in violation of the Endangered Species Act.

And now the Delta pumps have been turned off. Officials are predicting that the Central Valley won’t receive any federal water this year and it will only get 15% of the normal supply of state water.

These Delta pumping restrictions must be lifted in order to save our region’s economy and reduce record unemployment. As your representative in the State Assembly, I am taking action to prioritize the economic needs of our region and stop this man-made drought.

If you have any questions about our water supply, or any other topic, please do not hesitate to contact me. It is an honor to serve you in the State Assembly.

Sincerely,

CONNIE CONWAY
Assemblymember, District 34

2 comments:

  1. I am sure everyone can sympathize with the need of central valley agriculture for this water. That said, the assembly member has a very one dimensional view of the problem simply stating less water means reduced economic activity.

    I propose that folks look at the wider regional water needs. We might want to change our thinking and assess trade-offs throughout the entire system.

    For example how can we accept the reduction of the ecological viability of the Delta (critical source for the entire California coastal fishery) as an acceptable trade off so we can pump water (energy intensive) to arid areas to grow rice (a crop with high water requirements?

    The policy has to balance the wider economic impacts and get over the regional myopia.

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  2. We are contending with mass media in trying to help people. John Stewart gives a very good lay analysis of why people are angry and why people should ask more questions about what is going on.

    http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/tue-september-29-2009/where-the-riled-things-are

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