Monday, November 24, 2008

Canal still on the periphery

It might have slipped below the radar during the Longest Election Known to Man, but plans for a new Peripheral Canal continue to pick up speed. And proponents.

Even Sunne McPeak, a former Contra Costa County supervisor and vociferous opponent of the canal, has changed her tune. Not good for those trying to protect the Delta and those living in it.

She related in an interview published this weekend that her support changed because conditions have changed from the 1980s, when her opposition was key in defeating the Peripheral Canal at the ballot box. The levees are worse, there are more demands on the Delta as water source, and the entire ecosystem is in peril.

But the canal will solve none of these problems.

Not while those in Southern California continue to insist on Delta-watered lawns in the middle of a chaparral desert. Not while we have insufficient water storage to tide us over from wet years to dry ones. Not while we seem to believe that better conveyance and increased storage will yield an unending supply of water.

The underlying factor to the state's water crunch — namely, that too many people and farms exist in an unsustainable fashion in places where water doesn't naturally occur in abundance — will not be addressed by a Peripheral Canal.

Judging by McPeak's change of heart, the lesson doesn't seem to be sinking in...

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