Water war’s new front: Where to add major storage projects

After a 35-year stalemate stalled new California water storage projects, Gov. Jerry Brown and legislative leaders agreed in 2014 to include $2.7 billion for such needs as part of Proposition 1, a $7.5 billion water bond approved in a landslide by voters later that year.

The then-raging drought persuaded Democrats to go along with major water storage creation plans after blocking new projects since California completed its last dam in 1979. Many Republicans saw the opposition as a back-door way for environmentalists to squeeze state farmers to limit agricultural pollution and protect native species, and to slow growth in urban areas. 

Groups such as the Natural Resources Defense Council scoffed at these claims. They say encouraging water conservation is always a good goal in an arid state, and argue that state and federal laws that protect threatened species need to be fully followed.

This sharp disagreement reflects how water politics have long been fraught in the Golden State. And now that the California Water Commission must choose which of 12 qualified proposed projects to fund with the $2.7 billion kitty, officials’ decisions are sure to be buffeted once again by regional interests (Northern vs. Southern California), economic interests (farmers vs. developers) and environmentalists’ interests. With the 12 projects estimated to cost about $13.1 billion – $10 billion-plus more than what is available – some key water stakeholders are sure to end up unhappy. Some districts will be forced to seek all or nearly all funding from other sources, starting with their customers.

Greens quick to start push for preferred project

The 12 projects were unveiled last week. The water commission must make its final decision by June 2018.

Environmentalists wasted no time identifying their favorite project: The Contra Costa Water District’s proposal to increase the storage capacity at its Los Vaqueros reservoir by more than 70 percent – going from 160,000 acre-feet to 275,000 acre-feet. Contra Costa officials say the additional capacity could meet the yearly needs of 1.4 million people.

But that isn’t why the $914 million project already has the strong support of several environmental groups – including the Planning and Conservation League, the Audubon Society and the Nature Conservancy. It’s because a chunk of the water would go to threatened Central Valley wetland refuges to shore up their fragile ecosystems, long a goal of state greens.

To boost the case for the proposal, Contra Costa water officials have lined up the formal support – and promises of funding help – from 12 other Bay Area water districts, which see the additional storage as “drought insurance.”

The most costly proposed projects are to build a $5 billion dam in Colusa County and a $3 billion dam in Fresno County.

Most of the projects proposed for Southern California are less ambitious. The exception is from the city of San Diego, which is asking for the water commission to help cover the $1.2 billion cost of a plant to recycle wastewater with advanced technology that makes it fully safe to mix with conventional water supplies. Officials believe the plant can supply one-third of city needs by 2035.

The project won final approval at San Diego City Hall in 2014, two weeks after Proposition 1 passed.

8 comments

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  1. Queeg
    Queeg 19 August, 2017, 00:33

    Comrades

    Brown shirts, black shirts, green shirts, no shirts- Take ya pick!

    Reply this comment
  2. Terry
    Terry 19 August, 2017, 08:14

    While all the goofs in CA Govt argue another drought will be upon us and then what? When the country fails it will be Govt that caused it.
    CA is already a failure, we are just still being lied to that everything is OK.
    And now, maybe as much as $1.00 in new gas taxes coming. I thought the Democratic mantra was to help the poor. Every new tax hurts the poor more than anyone. It is time for the poor to wake up and vote for something different.

    Reply this comment
    • Queeg
      Queeg 19 August, 2017, 10:22

      Comrade Terry Poo

      It’s over…….Plutocrats and the welfare state bring pacification of the Huns, Thurlingens and Franks through redistribution of the remaining assets of besieged producers.

      Rather efficient about it too!

      Reply this comment
  3. Dot
    Dot 19 August, 2017, 16:45

    Would some one contact me back please, I want to know is there anyway you can take our money from CaLVCB and give it to us, the governor giving money for us crime victim and they taking it and making like we getting it when we not that’s agents the law, that not right, they stealing our money and not paying income tax, please read what other victims are saying now how can we all be wrong,
    Reply
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    Delete
    Junk
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    my up todate latter to other crime victims 8-18-2017

    DJ
    Dorothy Ann Johnson

    Reply
    |

    Thu 8/17, 7:46 PM
    You

    Inbox

    This Dot and this my update today is 8-18-2017, and I still haven’t gotten a dime, This put tension on my what they want is to ware me down so I can said forget it like most of you have done, I want give up I will fight for us all, I been trying for 4 years to get my money, and been told ever lie known to mankind, Now I will tell you victims something, never, I do mean never let your money built up, this what I did wrong, I know you don’t want to send you recites in when it’s only 3 dollars so you keep them and let them build up to over 50 dollars it’s a chance you want get it, now here what they going to do
    (1) They will tell you a lie and say your medications have nothing to do with your accident, and if they think you don’t know they will say it been too long( 2) They will they you that they need forms proving your meds have to do with your accident, and you need a doctor stating this( 3) see they know can’t no doctor prove this so when you see all your recites in they will be denied, so you call they and tell them you want to appeal this, now this for you to give up, they going to send you lost of forms about 20 because they know you won’t want to file that many, most people will give up right than, but it only take one form, you write on paper, why you disagree yourself, see they also want you to put them papers down and forget about thin(, 4) don’t  you go out in the  and heat trying to get forms you don’t need thinking you will get your money because they still want send you a dime, the have lawyers right there at the place this why they don’t mind taking our money, yes they lawyers notices how they can lie, it not they right there if the person need help with lies, how I know? I know and that’s that, See after you done run all over your town getting all kind of forms gut what when you send them in your going to be denied again this going to go on about two years, Now you don’t sent in all forms, gust what they going to send you in form lying an telling you they got them from your doctor, gust what they will have on them? You can’t gust can you? Will I will tell you, Fakes medications! That’s right, fake meds, this way this meds has nothing to do with your accident now they’re going to be more fake meds than there going to be your meds, and when you call then explaining you don’t take that meds they going to tell you that not going to augur with you and may hang up in your face, now your forms in appeal, now they done run out of lies so now they will keep with this lie for years, now they can only use this lie for so many years, so now they going to go back to they need your doctor to prove the meds he gives you is due to your accident, I just want you to know the lies so you want think you don’t understand all of this , because the only thing to understand is it’s all lies and another thing the number they going to give you to the appeal  board which I don’t believe it’s there because send your forms there they will come back to you, and the appeal number is a one way number what I mean by tis is they can call you but you can’t call them back now try calling  This Dot and this my update today is 8-18-2017, and I still haven’t gotten a dime, This put tension on my what they want is to ware me down so I can said forget it like most of you have done, I want give up I will fight for us all, I been trying for 4 years to get my money, and been told ever lie known to mankind, Now I will tell you victims something, never, I do mean never let your money built up, this what I did wrong, I know you don’t want to send you recites in when it’s only 3 dollars so you keep them and let them build up to over 50 dollars it’s a chance you want get it, now here what they going to do
    1 They will tell you a lie and say your medications have nothing to do with your accident, and if they think you don’t know they will say it been to long 2 They will they you that they need forms proving your meds have to do with your accident, and you need a doctor stating this 3 see they know can’t no doctor prove this so when you see all your recites in they will be denied, so you call they and tell them you want to appeal this, now this for you to give up, they going to send you lost of forms about 20 because they know you won’t want to file that many, most people will give up right than, but it only take one form, you write on paper, why you disagree yourself, see they also want you to put them papers down and forget about thin, 4 don’t  you go out in the  and heat trying to get forms you don’t need thinking you will get your money because they still want send you a dime, the have lawyers right there at the place this why they don’t mind taking our money, yes they lawyers notices how they can lie, it not they right there if the person need help with lies, how I know? I know and that’s that, See after you done run all over your town getting all kind of forms gut what when you send them in your going to be denied again this going to go on about two years, Now you don’t sent in all forms, gust what they going to send you in form lying an telling you they got them from your doctor, gust what they will have on them? You can’t gust can you? Will I will tell you, Fakes medications! That’s right, fake meds, this way this meds has nothing to do with your accident now they’re going to be more fake meds than there going to be your meds, and when you call then explaining you don’t take that meds they going to tell you that not going to augur with you and may hang up in your face, now your forms in appeal, now they done run out of lies so now they will keep with this lie for years, now they can only use this lie for so many years, so now they going to go back to they need your doctor to prove the meds he gives you is due to your accident, I just want you to know the lies so you want think you don’t understand all of this , because the only thing to understand is it’s all lies and another thing the number they going to give you to the appeal  board which I don’t believe it’s there because send your forms there they will come back to you, and the appeal number is a one way number what I mean by tis is they can call you but you can’t call them back now try calling  916-443-1979 every little thing they us it not to pay us, how can they keep money the governor give them for us, An d nobody helping us to get our money, I been trying to get my money for four years now and was told just yesterday I wasn’t going to get it please get our money please

    Reply this comment
  4. Spirwing Plover
    Spirwing Plover 21 August, 2017, 14:01

    How long until these eco-wackos demands the removal of Shasta Dam these Wildlands fanatics and and wild river wanks are idiots

    Reply this comment
  5. Ulysses Uhaul
    Ulysses Uhaul 21 August, 2017, 14:22

    What is this? Tomes are nada and very boring. If persist put it in Latin or Aramaic so we can skim on by it!

    teddy…..school him in decorum

    Reply this comment
  6. howard Epstein
    howard Epstein 25 August, 2017, 09:32

    When I ran for the Assembly in 2004 the infrastructure section of my brochure said “We must ensure adequate water supplies using a combination of methods. The levels of some existing dams should be raised. New above ground and underground storage facilities should be developed. New sources, such as reclaimed water, which is used in Golden Gate Park, and desalinization, should be investigated. New technologies and reasonable conservation are a priority.” Nothing has changed.

    Reply this comment

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Chris Reed

Chris Reed

Chris Reed is a regular contributor to Cal Watchdog. Reed is an editorial writer for U-T San Diego. Before joining the U-T in July 2005, he was the opinion-page columns editor and wrote the featured weekly Unspin column for The Orange County Register. Reed was on the national board of the Association of Opinion Page Editors from 2003-2005. From 2000 to 2005, Reed made more than 100 appearances as a featured news analyst on Los Angeles-area National Public Radio affiliate KPCC-FM. From 1990 to 1998, Reed was an editor, metro columnist and film critic at the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin in Ontario. Reed has a political science degree from the University of Hawaii (Hilo campus), where he edited the student newspaper, the Vulcan News, his senior year. He is on Twitter: @chrisreed99.

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