Within the past several days, the California Water Board issued a plan to boost flows in the San Joaquin River. The problem with the plan, according to opponents – and there are many – is that it could not only siphon billions of dollars from the state’s economy by wrecking agriculture in counties including Merced, Stanislaus and San Joaquin.
It also could legally tread on the state’s long-standing water rights system.
Saying “California must invest in watersheds, just like dams,” California State Treasurer John Chiang claims there are better ways than general obligation bonds to fund necessary water infrastructure. Part of this, he says, will happen if Gov. Brown signs AB 2480.
California Water Boards plan to fix Delta ecosystem puts senior water rights holders in the crosshairs. Not all of these water users are farmers. One happens to be the City/County of San Francisco as its source: Hetch Hetchy, is among the affected watersheds by the State of California.
Several editorials came out with big hammers against the California Water Board’s plan.
The Modesto Bee simply calls it “wrongheaded, lackadaisical (and) shortsighted” as the plan, as crafted currently, will take water from several agricultural water districts credited with helping farmers produce well over $10 billion in crops.
The Ventura County Star puts the California Water Board on notice that they are setting themselves up for certain legal action by cutting water deliveries to senior rights holders.
Calling it “the age of water limits,” the Sacramento Bee suggests that California’s water rights system may be outdated as too many competing interests vie for limited amounts of water. Too many straws suck water from the San Joaquin River, which no longer flows continuously from the Sierra Nevada to the San Francisco Bay.