I was very intrigued by this story on a new coalition in water politics, the Public Water Coalition. It is a few months old, and like the article says, I had never heard of it. It looks to be a loose affiliation of most of the big water districts in the state. They don’t have staff or a website or anything, so it took me a while to track down their guiding document, a position paper issued in February. It is among the attachments in this report to a water district board, (pages 11-29), and looks like the comments they submitted to the Delta Vision process back in November. I found one other statement by them, again to Delta Vision.
Do you remember when this blog was just a baby, and we spent three weeks of its young life going through the Pacific Institute report? Remember how exciting that was? Shall we do that again, focus on parsing a position paper that none of y’all would read anyway? LETS!
My take-away from my first couple readings is:
Every recommendation in the report is a way to protect the power of the already powerful water interests in the state. If you want to know the water buffalo party line, this is it. (Given that, I’m impressed with the extent to which they have conceded that environmental management is necessary. I’m thinking that is Tim Quinn’s influence.)
This position paper heavily favors the upper Sacramento Valley water users, which doesn’t surprise me, because it looks as if they were the organizers for this coalition.
They are throwing the in-Delta farmers TO THE WOLVES. Advocates for maintaining the Delta in its current state, know that the big dogs have turned on you.
They mount a surprising defense of “traditional water rights”. I’ve heard a good amount of talk about scrapping our existing water rights and starting over, but dismissed it as a fantasy too good to ever come true. So I’m surprised that the Public Water Coalition feel that they have to defend against that talk. I can only hope that they perceive a threat to the existing rights system.
Anyway, there’s a lot in this position paper. I’ll be writing about it in coming posts.