Thursday, June 4, 2009

More sanity in Delta water debate

The Huffington Post today features an enlightened column about the problems plaguing the Central Valley, first and foremost among them the Delta water supply.

The thesis advanced by Cynthia Koehler (Environmental Defense Fund attorney) and Laura Harnish (Environmental Defense Fund regional director) is painfully common-sense, yet painfully absent from almost all discussions of Delta water in California.

Their conclusion: Water is limited. Act like it.

(This should sound familiar to Second Thoughts regulars.)

If you care at all about the future of farming and your tapwater, please read the whole article. But here, for you speed-readers, are the money grafs:

In the 1970s, the federal and state projects pumped about 3.6 million acre-feet of water annually from the Delta. That amount has increased steadily to 5.8 million acre-feet in the 2000s, an increase of nearly 700 billion gallons of water per year.

This trend is not sustainable, with or without the Endangered Species Act. ...

...Rather than embrace the false hope that we can continue to take ever-increasing amounts of water from our rivers and streams, we should recognize that a prosperous future depends on both agriculture and cities learning to live within a water budget. We can and should set realistic expectations about what reasonably can be diverted from the natural system, without risking our economic future.

Sounds like common sense. But why think that way, when a major public works project promises salvation without sacrifice?

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