Dealing with Dry 12 months, CA State Water Board is Draining California Reservoirs – Watts Up With That?
Lake Oroville, Butte County in Northern California, holding 53% of average precipitation. (Photo: California Department of Water Resources)
Following up on Rud’s article Western US Drought Implications, it seems that the problem MAY be worse than he states, simply due to massive mismanagement by California officials.
From The California Globe.
CA reservoirs were designed to provide a steady five year supply for all users, and were filled to the top in June 2019
By Katy Grimes, May 21, 2021 2:20 am
“In the last 14 days, 90% of Delta inflow went to sea. It’s equal to a year’s supply of water for 1 million people.
#ManMadeDrought,” Central Valley farmer Kristi Diener said.
Diener, a California water expert and farmer, has been warning steadily that water is unnecessarily being let out to sea as the state faces a normal dry year.
“Are we having a dry year? Yes,” Diener says. “That is normal for us. Should we be having water shortages in the start of our second dry year? No. Our reservoirs were designed to provide a steady five year supply for all users, and were filled to the top in June 2019.”
Don’t believe her?
“You’re looking at our largest reservoirs less than two years ago. They were absolutely teeming with water from 107% to 145% of average!” Diener says. “Our reservoirs held enough water for everyone who relies on them for their water supply, for 7 years. We are barely into our second dry year. WHERE DID IT GO?”
“Where did it go” indeed. According to the California Legislative Analyst’s Office, statewide water use averages 85 gallons per person per day. But it’s always urban/residential water users ordered to conserve water: let lawns turn brown and landscaping die, limit showers and baths, wash clothing and dishes less frequently, and other absurd “helpful tips.”
Diener also asks, “How can this year be the driest year on record when it has more than 7 months left? That’s just fake news and crisis creation.”
“Before our magnificent reservoir projects were built, California never had a steady and reliable supply of water. Now water is being managed as if those reserves don’t exist, by emptying the collected water from storage to the sea, rather than saving it for our routinely dry years,” Diener says. “Our water projects were designed to be managed for the long term providing a minimum five year supply, but California has now put us on track to have a man made drought crisis every time we don’t have a wet season.”
It’s so bad even SAN FRANCISCO is pissed!
Even San Francisco is suing the State Water Board. Diener explains:
The State Water Board’s 40% unimpaired flows plan is too radical. Requiring 40% of the Tuolumne River water to flow directly to the ocean without being used for anything else on its way, severely limits that river’s supply to Hetch Hetchy—the main water source for San Francisco.
Water politics in California threaten both the electrical grid and perhaps more importantly the entire agricultural sector.
In a prescient op ed today (2018) in the Modesto Bee, Assemblyman Adam Gray (D-Merced) had some harsh words for Marcus and her radical environmental cohorts. “Despite her promises to the contrary, she and her board have used their immense authority to jeopardize – not protect – the economy and drinking water supplies of the Northern San Joaquin Valley.”
Gray says, “The State Water Board claims it needs the water to help restore fish populations, but an earlier version of their own report suggested their plan would result in little more than an additional 1,000 fish per year.”
“Irrigation districts in Merced, Turlock and Modesto have all proposed responsible alternatives that call for a combination of increased water flows, habitat restoration and predation controls,” Gray said. “Unsurprisingly, the State Water Board has rejected those proposals out of hand while continuing to preach a preference for voluntary settlements.”
“The truth is, the board will never be happy until it gets our water – no matter the consequence to our economy or our drinking water supplies,” Gray added.
California’s residents, farmers and ranchers find themselves in this untenable situation once again.
Read the full article here.