Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Water Report

The Public Policy Institute of California has published a new report on California’s water problem, and incredibly does not mention—in the section noting Sacramento is the most at risk major city in the country of flooding—that the only method of raising the level of flood protection from the current 200 year level (after the Folsom Dam improvements are completed) to 500 year level, is by building Auburn Dam.

A couple of our recent blogs, here and here, address this.

It is the continuing inability of environmentalist think tanks to not acknowledge the obvious, that contributes to the lack of good information public leadership needs to make informed decisions about our water problems.

An excerpt from the author’s commentary on the new report.

“The sweeping package of laws designed to overhaul California's troubled water system demonstrates that the Legislature can address this urgent issue in a difficult fiscal and political environment. But it is only the first step toward more sustainable management of California's water.

“The state still needs to find ways to pay for water infrastructure and critical improvements in aquatic habitat, whether or not voters approve the $11.4 billion bond that is part of the package. The bond is at best a partial solution: More local funding will be needed under any circumstances. If public policy discussions focus solely on the water bond, we'll miss an opportunity to build on the other reforms.

“For example, the laws' new governance structure for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta lays the groundwork for sustainable management of this critical region, which is facing a multiyear drought and new environmental restrictions on its water exports. Many water users think - mistakenly - that a simple solution to these problems exists, whether it's gaining an exemption from the Endangered Species Act or building a peripheral canal to move water around the delta. But new governance is only a start. Necessary future actions include developing a strategy to improve habitat and to secure the proper water flows for imperiled native fish.”