If they are prepping to sell the National Parks…

Now would be an excellent time for California to buy the CVP.

ADDED 1/26:  In 2010, the Little Hoover Commission proposed spinning off the State Water Project into its own agency (similar to the ISO for the electric grid, I believe).  I’d suggest buying the CVP and putting both the projects under the same state agency, as the LHC suggested.  Further, there is some urgency in doing this before Westlands gets a huge giveaway from their new friends in DC.

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8 Comments

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8 responses to “If they are prepping to sell the National Parks…

  1. Brad

    I’d love to see a discussion on the pros and cons of the state’s water system being totally state owned and managed. What do we need them for?

  2. The Pete Wilson administration campaigned for the State take-over of the CVP. Wilson resigned his US Senate seat after the 1990 election, you will recall, to become Governor. He appointed State Senator John Seymour to his seat and tasked Seymour with facilitating the transfer of the CVP to the State. This was the period, 1991 through 1992, that support was building for what became the (George) Miller- (Bill) Bradley CVP Improvement Act of 1992. On the face of it the CVPIA would have held the federal project to higher environmental standards (e.g., re rebuilding salmon stocks) than those required of the State Water Project. The environmental protection potential of the CVPIA was nipped in the bud, however, with the election of a Republican Congress in 1994. During the past half-dozen droughty years the partnership between the environmental wing of CA’s Congressional delegation and the Democratic-held White House has maintained the CVP’s underlying authorization and its seasonal operations at fairly high environmental standards. The moral here is be careful when you start flipping such immense assets as the CVP around based on the political conditions of the day – those political conditions can flip and invalidate your premise in the bat of an election.

  3. I should rush to add that the one clear environmental restoration result of the CVPIA was the return of salmon-supporting flows to the Trinity River, a clear Trust responsibility of the Secretary of the Interior to the Klamath basin Tribes. That CVPIA redirection of Trinity water from the Project back into the Trinity reduced CVPIA deliveries to Westlands Water District in particular (i.e., because of the junior status of their CVP contract), the reason Westlands has taken the political lead on any stratagem that might deliver more water from the Delta into their southwest corner of the San Joaquin Valley.

  4. WatergrlJD

    There are feasibility studies from the 1950s regarding California’s ability to buy this key infrastructure, back when everyone was terrified of fed influence over #cawater. Is this more than a thought exercise? If so, what happens to the Around Delta Water Go Thingie?

  5. jaylund

    I’ve been thinking that this could be an excellent idea if a) it could happen and b) it is done well enough. The politics would of course be awful, and bring some costs. But if done well, it would eliminate a major complication of better water management for all purposes.

  6. For what it’s worth, when Tom Stokely and I made our initial trek to D.C. (in 1989 I believe it was) to lobby for what became the Central Valley Project Improvement Act, and, working out of George Miller’s office began to connect with key committee Members to explain our concerns with the CVP’s outdated congressional authorization (Tom’s were largely Trinity River salmon restoration – he was working for Trinity County in those days; mine largely Central Valley salmon restoration) what struck me was how frequently the Members with whom we met simply jumped over our opening pitch to assert that ‘those salmon aren’t just California’s, they’re as much my constituents’ as they are California’s – you bet we want those salmon restored!’. Those billions of dollars invested in CVP infrastructure development and not repaid to the federal treasury came out of the pocket of US taxpayers from coast to coast. If some among us would like to ‘cash out’ the nation’s stake in the CVP well and good, but I prefer to think of both the investment made by federal taxpayers in the CVP and the interest federal taxpayers have in the project’s performance – its impact on Central Valley salmon, say – as matters that transcend strictly-local interests.

  7. Diane Livia

    OTPR, where are you?

    • onthepublicrecord

      I’m preoccupied by the Trump White House and drinking from the Twitter firehose, just like everyone.

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