Lately I have noticed a resurgence of political water issues and controversies. This morning’s paper mentioned that Santa Clara Valley Water District is putting on the ballot in November, a proposal to raise parcel Taxes in order to generate 548 Million over the next 15 years for flood control work , Seismic repairs on the Dams and “environmental restoration efforts”. Funny how there really cant be any restoration projects, at least the river restorations kind. until the dams are filled with water again and there is actually a flow of water in the creeks. The bill if successful will extend the $54 dollar a year per household parcel tax for 15 years while raising it 3% a year. Last time I voted to give the SCVWD money for restoration, they didn’t spend it for what I voted for. Now they need more and the average upper level SCVWD employee (at least the ones in my practice) make more money than I and have a better pension. The SCVWD doesn’t know how to budget in an economy that vacillates like ours has over the last 20 years. They are selfish and self serving, however, when it comes to their own salaries and pensions. I think we are on the hook for the added taxes, and must pay the price for the Water District gluttony if we are ever going to see a full reservoir in San Jose again.
According to Richard McMurtry,
As an example, the district persuaded voters to pass a special tax in November 2000 that committed funds to environmental restoration. But by June 2011, the board had allowed $15.7 million — more than 60 percent — of the tax revenue collected for that purpose to remain in reserves rather than spending on the promised environmental projects.
Money not spent for stream restoration because the dams are all undergoing seismic retrofitting; how in the world do you restore a stream or river that has no water source. The 15 million that has been sitting there for years waiting for the dams to be filled are already in danger of being spent on other projects and now the water district want to raise more money for restoration projects. Seems to me the restoration part of the “Safe, Clean Water and Natural Flood Protection Program” is just packaging for the voters and the real need is to quickely fix the dams.
On another front, Jerry Brown just released plans for a second perephrial canal that pose an enormous threat to the Bay-Delta ecosystem, the project that is being fast-tracked by Brown and Obama administrations, would result in the destruction of the largest estuary on the West Coast of the Americas. If put in motion, I think this is the last nail in the coffin and I will live to see the Delta Destroyed.
The Sierra Club of California, Environmental Water Caucus, Friends of the River, California Water Impact Network, Winnemem Wintu Tribe, Golden Gate Salmon Association, California Sportfishing Protection Alliance, Center for Biological Diversity, Food and Water Watch, Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations, the Planning and Conservation League, the Environmental Justice Coalition for Water and dozens of other groups have signed a letter in opposition of the project.
The complete letter is posted here: http://www.restorethedelta.org
If you look at the big picture, Saving the little coastal creeks and rivers is moot if you loose the Sacramento River. We cant afford to sell water to Southern california if we cant maintain the minimum survival waterflows in the delta. Very simple concept. The real enemy may not be the Santa Clara Valley Water District. The enemy is the political machine that wants to rob from Northern California to pay Southern California at the cost of the Delta Estuary-a greedy decision, not based on sound science.