By now you’ve heard that California regulators and environmental organizations want more water to flow into the Bay-Delta, and they have targeted three tributaries of the lower San Joaquin River; one of which is the Tuolumne River. Phase 1 of the Bay-Delta Plan is a real threat to all MID and TID customers: ag water, urban water and electric.
This proposal, which disregards our water rights, would force MID and TID to dedicate 40 percent of unimpaired flows along the Tuolumne River from February 1 to June 30 annually for fish and wildlife beneficial uses and salinity control.
You don’t need a calculator to figure that a reliable supply of surface water brings value to the region served by MID and TID. This value includes agriculture production, agricultural processing, ag-related business, economic base, groundwater recharge and affordable water. It was this very water that gave life to the region, and the loss of this water will threaten our region’s quality of life.
A 2014 Socioeconomic Study shows the Don Pedro Project supports approximately $4.109 billion in economic output, $734.8 million in labor income, and 18,900 jobs in our region.
With Don Pedro’s value in mind, let’s talk about what 2015, the fourth year of a drought, would have looked like under the State Water Resources Control Board’s Bay-Delta Plan Phase 1 proposal. Keep in mind, the numbers below are in addition to already-incurred drought impacts.
In 2015, under the State Water Board proposal, farmers in both MID and TID would have received NOsurface water. And maybe that’s what people in support of the State Water Board’s proposal want to see.
Our region survived the worst multi-year hydrological drought in state history. But can our region really survive a regulatory drought?
The State Water Board will hold a public hearing in Modesto on November 4th at Modesto Centre Plaza.
For more information about the proposed water grab by the State Water Board, please visit the, “Worth Your Fight”, campaign website at www.worthyourfight.org