Boxer-Feinsten water bill stresses conservation, not supply

Boxer-Feinsten water bill stresses conservation, not supply

Boxer-Feinstein water billThere are two ways to manage water. One way is to capture more water and store it for dry years. The second way is to keep dividing up existing water supplies.

This second way is pushed in a newly proposed bill, the Water in the 21st Century Act, sponsored by California Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, both Democrats; and by Reps. Grace Napolitano, D-CA, and Peter DeFazio, D-Ore.

Back on Feb. 11, 2014, Feinstein and Boxer introduced their drought relief bill, Senate Bill 216, “The California Emergency Drought Relief Act of 2014.”  The drought relief measures in that bill were already being carried out before that bill was introduced.

Dividing Up Water and Money

Feinstein and Boxer’s new bill, also called W-21, contains $1.1 billion of funding for:

  • Title IConservation and Efficiency.  It would pay 50 percent of the cost to establish a conservation incentive program and offer rebates for installing water efficiency devices up to $700 million over five years. It would target low-income households and first-time home buyers.
  • Title IIRecycling, Storage and Integrated Water Management.  It would offer $400 million over five years for secured loans and grants for water recycling plants to government agencies, special utility and water districts, Indian Tribes and some corporations; and for groundwater management plans.
  • Title IIIInnovation Through Research, Data and Technology. It would restore $3 million for the Water Desalination Act and $9 million for the Water Resources Research Act that funds the U.C. Berkeley-based California Institute for Water Resources.  Budget hawks have opposed both these acts, calling them “frivolous” and “redundant.
  • Title IVDrought Preparedness and Resilience. It would provide $3 million to develop drought resilience guidelines for communities, water utilities and drought preparedness for Indian tribes and salmon drought plans

It is not clear what the Boxer-Feinstein bill offers that is not already available at the local level.  Many municipal water departments and regional water wholesalers already offer rebate programs for installing water conservation devices.

Wastewater recycling plants can be funded with municipal bonds at the local level and don’t need federal financing. Restoring the Water Research Act and Water Desalination Act would bring back two programs that were cut as part of the plan to cut back federal spending in view of the looming federal debt. And drought plans are already in existence in California.

The problem with more conservation is that California has passed five state water bond propositions since 2000, totaling $18.7 billion. Yet these bonds have funded nothing to withstand the current severe, but predictable, drought.

The Boxer-Feinstein bill just keeps dividing the same water. But as Dan Nelson says, “conservation alone is not enough.” Nelson is the executive director of the San Luis and Delta-Mendota Water Authority, serving 29 water agencies in the Central Valley.

Adding Water

On Aug. 1, Nelson wrote an op-ed in the Sacramento Bee advocating adding new water supplies, rather than divvying up existing supplies more efficiently.  San Luis and Mendota are the epicenter of the current water shortage.

He wrote, “Recent studies, including one underway by the Nature Conservancy, indicate that increased surface storage capacity, together with conveyance improvements in the Delta, will provide the greatest benefits for groundwater. These investments will help to both restore stressed groundwater basins and capture abundant surface flows when they are available.”

To Nelson, groundwater management that fails to address adding new water storage will only end up depleting groundwater basins.

Nelson presented data to back up his assertion that the current water shortage is the result of diversions of farm water for fish runs.  In 2008 and 2009, over 3 million acre feet of water per year were diverted for Delta smelt and salmon.

Following those water diversions, farmers prepared for an expected future water shortage by investing in about $3 billion in water-efficiency measures.

Nelson cites a study in progress by the Nature Conservancy affirming that increased water storage capacity would “provide the greatest benefits for groundwater.”

It is that increased storage capacity, not the Feinstein-Boxer proposal for more conservation and recycling, that is the key to mitigating future droughts.


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  1. Tesla_x
    Tesla_x 5 August, 2014, 18:56

    Those two bitches should be ashamed of themselves for their presiding over the entire fish fraud disaster.

    They carried water for the Frisco Trust Fund Baby crowd of elites that supported the NRDC and spearheaded this whole disaster.

    The greatest service they could provide what is left of this failed state is to RETIRE and NEVER RETURN to darken Kalifornia’s door.

    Too late to fix the problem they helped create as millions of acre feet of critical water storage was squandered and destroyed.

    They also presided over opposition to building new dams, which would have provided for everyone.

    Now they want to ‘fix’ things?

    What a joke!

    Their continued presence in ‘public service’ is an insult to the process.


    Reply this comment
  2. Disgusted
    Disgusted 5 August, 2014, 20:53

    Dianne Frankenstein, been screwing Ca. for 40 years.
    She doesn’t even run for office anymore she just anoints herself.
    I remember when Barbara was really good, before DF got her fangs into her.
    Now they are the Bobbsy Twins.

    San Francisco and LA has wasted more water in broken pipes than the northern 1/3 of Ca. uses all yr.

    Fix the infrastructure and stop putting the money in you and your friends pockets Di.

    Reply this comment
  3. Ricky65
    Ricky65 6 August, 2014, 09:23

    No new dams or storage projects in 40 years while the population has doubled in the state. And green pork laden ills like the Feinstein / Boxer scam are the exact reason we are in this mess.
    As Wayne correctly points out 5 water bonds passed since 2000 and not a drop of new water has been created. All of the money went for land acquistion, conservation easements, and consultants, more green pork, and politically connected enviro groups to ‘study’ the problems they have created.

    And just how will this ‘conservation’ thing work? Well, you find the least politically connected water user group and then STEAL their water allocation with the help of corrupt and green friendly government agencies. Essentially you make those folks and their customers conserve-not your group.
    BTW- I agree with other posters here regarding the destruction of the golden state by the 80+ something hags Feinstein, Boxer and Pelosi. These ex-hippies (along with their cohort Jerry Brown) have done more to destroy the state than any war or natural disaster could have possibly done.
    When I think of the 3 old gals, I’m reminded of the opening scene from MacBeth wherein the three witches are sitting around stirring a cauldron..

    Reply this comment
  4. Queeg
    Queeg 6 August, 2014, 19:53

    Globalists lecture you to accept your inferiority.

    Less is better for you…but oops….now we have to raise prices……ala gas consumption….

    Now water the next “less”.

    Reply this comment

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