Monthly Archives: May 2011

Lucky dogs.

Tomorrow, if I wake early, I will draw lessons from the NAS review of BDCP to give the Delta Stewardship Council unsolicited advice firm guidance much-needed direction a few suggestions.

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The NAS review of BDCP, and the BDCP Steering Committee.

My.  That NAS review of the Bay-Delta Conservation Plan was really something.  Their review sure didn’t pull any punches.  If you’ve read the newspaper articles, I presume you’ve seen the quote saying that the BDCP (pg 43):

…creates the impression that the entire effort is little more than a post-hoc rationalization of a previously selected group of facilities, including an isolated conveyance facility…

Of course it is.  We’ve known that BDCP was rigged by Schwarzenegger and Snow.  It is funded by the State Water Contractors and Westlands, who have made it perfectly clear that they only care about it about BDCP so far as it delivers water to them.  There’s no surprise here.  Take a look at the Steering Committee for BDCP.  (You can click on the quadrants to get a list of names, which wasn’t obvious to me at first.)  We know who these people are.  Resources Agency in the last administration was clearly directed to push the Peripheral Canal though, since Schwarzenegger wanted it.  Jason Peltier at Westlands likes to go around to public meetings telling the audience that Westlands is like a fox with its paw in a trap and should be expected to act without integrity for its very survival.   They’ve told us who they are; there should be no surprise.

You know who I’m disappointed by?  The enviros in the light teal quadrant.  We find out from the National Academy of Science that the whole document is a mish-mash with no priorities, leaving it potentially ineffective?  Why didn’t they tell us?  Their people sit on the Steering Committee, so they either knew this or they’ve failed their duty to that process.  I really do understand the power of influencing from the inside.  I’m not one of the people calling them ‘corporate enviros’ for being willing to compromise and get some of what they want.  I don’t even think that supporting a Peripheral Canal (if they do) is in conflict with being an enviro; I myself am an enviro that supports the Peripheral Canal.  I’m not looking for exceeding enviro purity.

But after reading the NAS report, I feel they have let the bigger enviro community down.  At some point, even in a collaborative process, you have to either get the group to incorporate your goals or you have call the process out.  Enviro presence validates this process and Plan, but in the November plan the NAS reviews, the enviro goals aren’t being met. None of the possibilities are good.  Did the enviros not realize that they were being played?  Then we need sharper advocates.  Were they co-opted by being in the back room and playing with the big dogs?  Surely not.  Did they have a triple back-flip plan to get what the environment needs under the Brown administration?  That’s a dangerous game, since the timing of the Delta Plan is so tight.  Or were they simply not powerful enough against the combined force of the last administration and the big contractors paying for the work?  In that case, they should be using the power they do have.  They should make a loud fuss, saying that the BDCP is a cobbled-together mess to justify a Peripheral Canal.  They should withdraw, on the grounds that this isn’t a process designed to achieve enviro goals.  They should have told us about these problems with the Plan loud and clear.  We shouldn’t have had to hear about it from the National Academy of Science.

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Alright. You win, net nanny.

I miss my blog too much. I bought a domain name, so tomorrow I hope to be able to see it at work. If it worked, other folks at departments in Resources will be able to follow links from Aquafornia to onthepublicrecord.org. This costs me $25 per year that I shouldn’t have to pay. The system was working just fine before. But I will, because I want to talk about water to other water people. It might still not display, because it is still run on wordpress software. I’ll find out.

Perhaps you know that Gov. Brown has issued travel restrictions for state workers? They’re incredibly disruptive, especially considering that the state’s water directive is regional water management. We can’t go out to the regions now. Perhaps that is reasonable. The budget crunch is real; perhaps we want the money saved from travel more than we want accelerated implementation of regional water management. (If you believe state participation is a help, which you might not.) But we’re trapped in our own districts now, with less access than ever to what is going on out there at the local and regional level. You know what would help us keep up with the situation out there? Local blogs. Reading what other voices are saying in the field today. But we can’t do that. We’re wasting a free resource at a time when we need all the free resources we can get.

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