Friday, June 15, 2007

Governor and the Canal

It is heartening to see public leadership understanding a growing population also needs to grow its infrastructure and increase its access to natural resources now being conveyed and stored inefficiently or not at all.

Governor endorses canal
Delta-circumventing project was rejected by state's voters in 1982.
By Kevin Yamamura - Bee Capitol Bureau
Published 12:00 am PDT Friday, June 15, 2007

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger called Thursday for a canal to transfer water around the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, marking the first time he has expressed support for the historically controversial project.

The Republican governor, speaking at a town-hall forum in Bakersfield, told farmers he would fight to ensure they have enough water for the next two to three decades.

"We need more water," he said, according to a recording. "We need to build more storage, and we have to build conveyance, the canal, and all of those kinds of things."

The governor's reference to a canal apparently referred to a project that could move water around the Delta from Northern California to Southern California, his aides confirmed.

Politicians have been averse to such a system ever since voters rejected the Peripheral Canal in 1982. The project involved a 44-mile channel that would have circumvented the Delta to deliver water to the California Aqueduct.

The plan initially was envisioned as a way to preserve the Delta estuary but became political anathema when it was seen as a water grab by Southern California. Schwarzenegger acknowledged Thursday that water storage and a canal are "politically risky."

"But it's one of those big, big issues that have been swept under the rug for decades," he said, adding later: "Now we are lifting up the rug, and we are pulling up all this stuff and saying, 'Here's the problem.' "