Thursday, February 22, 2007

San Joaquin Solutions

In an example of good thinking and excellent public leadership, a direction to think about has been offered.

Nunes sees one solution to two Valley water problems
By Mark Grossi and Michael Doyle / The Fresno Bee (2/21/07)

The San Joaquin River connects two of California's major water problems now floating in isolation. On Tuesday, a San Joaquin Valley lawmaker suggested merging the two problems into one regional fix.

One problem is restoring the river. The other concerns irrigation drainage in a region where the river once flowed.

Separate lawsuits have lingered for years. Separate solutions finally are proposed for both. Perhaps, some say, it now makes sense to unify rather than isolate.

"This is the time to start the discussion," said Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Visalia.

But others aren't so sure.

"There is not much evidence in the history of California water to support the idea that adding two hard issues together makes it easier to solve either one of them," attorney Tom Jensen cautioned Tuesday. "To the contrary."

As a Senate staffer, Jensen helped write the 1992 Central Valley Project Improvement Act. The law diverted 800,000 acre-feet of Northern California river water from Valley farms to the environment.