The San Joaquin Valley Water Blueprint? What’s that? Looks important. (1 of 3)

Friant Water Authority April , 2019

Austin Ewell gave the board and update on the San Joaquin Valley Blueprint saying the funding/finance/governance committee is looking for further funding. He said Governor Gavin Newsom has been commenting on the Blueprint. … Ewell continued saying the outreach to disadvantaged communities and other matters are being considered. Outreach and engagements committee efforts have not gone unnoticed by Newsom and his ag advisor Bill Lyons. There was a meeting with them and they got to look over the Blueprint. The Public Policy Institute of California has a groundwater effort going and Ewell said that is tying in with the Blueprint. The next meeting will be May 15th. … Phillips said getting all the communities to coordinate on water is more difficult than would be expected. He said the Blueprint is a way for all to speak in a unified voice. The idea of having the Blueprint becoming part of the Governor’s water plan is approaching reality. Phillips also said the actual plan has not yet been released to the public but soon will.

(my emphasis)

Huh. That’s interesting.  The ag big boys say that Newsom is working closely with them on some new Water Blueprint.

Friant Water Authority July 15, 2019, item 6E, bottom of page 1

4) Advocacy & Public Relations: The Committee will continue to work with key stakeholders and the administration to fold the Water Blueprint into The governor‘s Water Resiliency Plan (WRP). The WRP is expected to have a policy paper out in October and additional milestones by the end of this calendar year. The committee continues to meet with key leaders and advocate for use and pursuit of the Blueprint by the Governor.

(my emphasis)

Friant Water Authority July 25, 2019

Consultant Austin Ewell updated the board on the Valley Blueprint. There was a recent meeting of the VB committee. This project, this Blueprint is garnering a very large amount of support and is worthy of a story of its own. A formal organization has been formed with officers and a bank account and is now able to bring in contributions. Ewell said he, Phillips and VB committee member Sarah Woolf met with my favorite NGO/enviros the Environmental Defense Fund. These guys and gals at EDF aren’t your typical clown car full of social warriors. They are working with others and not just filing lawsuits. The VB could and hopefully will become a part of Governor Gavin Newsom’s Water Resiliency Plan. There will be another meeting next month. A scope for the socio/economic report portion of the plan will be conducted by a UC Berkeley professor with street cred for the SJW and realistic performance for the rest. One person rhetorically wondered aloud if since it’s coming out of Berkeley the report will be gender neutral. Arvin Edison WSD Director Edwin Camp wisely asked if SB1passes as is will it impact the VB. Ewell said it will go forward either way. Phillips said SB1 will make the need for the VB even more pressing. Phillips said since yesterday’s meeting with EDF he believes the VB is representing water solutions that are true, needed and inclusive. Ewell also thanked Newsom consultant Bill Lyons, who was present. Phillips said the work on the Resiliency Plan there have been good contacts with Wade Crowfoot, Karla Nemeth and others in Newsom’s cabinet. 

(my emphasis)

Well, I haven’t chased any of that down, but I have a couple initial guesses:

  • Oh Dr. Sunding. Again? (If my guess is wrong, let me know! I’ll post a public apology.)
  • EDF, I’ve been skeptical of you since your water market initiative. Used to be that the Natural Heritage Institute was famous for being the sell-out environmentalists, but I haven’t heard from them in ages. Perhaps EDF is stepping into the void.

San Luis Delta Mendota WA August 8, 2019

SLDM’s J. Scott Petersen … also said the SJ Valley Blueprint is growing and efforts to get this entered into Newson’s water plan are looking good.

(my emphasis)

Wow. Looks pretty serious. Weird that I haven’t heard much about it. But a Blueprint sounds like those things that the COGS had to do a while back, for transportation.  It is probably really resilience-y.

9 Comments

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9 responses to “The San Joaquin Valley Water Blueprint? What’s that? Looks important. (1 of 3)

  1. Fig

    Newsom is going to privatize water in the state of California. We are going full on commodification. I’m ready for a REAL water war now. I’m TIRED of this sneaky af, underhanded shit, I really am.

  2. Noel Park

    Big Ag rolls out its PR machine to try to co-opt the process. What else is new? I’m putting my money where my mouth is with the NRDC, Earth justice and the Center for Biological Diversity. It ain’t over til it’s over.

    @ Fig,

    I’m with you!

  3. Noel Park

    In the dark watches of last night I mentally composed a lengthy and scary response to this post. In the light of this morning I have decided not to bore you with it. Suffice it to say that I share OTPR’s much better expressed concerns about the end game of all of this. And I almost despair for the deeply frightening future we are leaving for future generations, if any.

  4. Don

    Where else on earth besides California is big ag defined as 15,000 small family farms? The vast majority of Friant contractors are small farmers. It would be a reckless form of suicide for the water users of the San Joaquin Valley to ignore the water problem. The Valley Blueprint is a regional look at how to better manage water. It’s no different than the Los Angeles Basin or the Bay Area planning for their water needs. What would the criticism be if the Valley didn’t plan for its water needs? If the Valley didn’t plan it would drive ag out of business and cause an economic collapse. That appears to be the NRDC’s wish. Also, when will LA and the Bay Area to get serious about desal?

    • onthepublicrecord

      That’s what is so strange about the Water Blueprint. The Friant is planning to insure that the west side and the white areas backfill all of the pumping they have to stop because of SGMA. Here is Johnny Amaral saying the Blueprint is for the whole Valley: https://californiaagtoday.com/friant-water-blueprint-counties-south-delta/

      In your analogy (I do not approve of analogies), it is more like the Los Angeles Basin planning for San Diego, by taking Coachella’s water.

    • Noel Park

      I rest my case.

    • Noel Park

      All of this just reinforces Mark Arax’s point in “The Dreamt Land”. Increases in water availability, whether by surface water infrastructure or well technology allowing them to go ever deeper, do not result in more “sustainability” or “resilience”. They result in ever more unsustainable land being put into production. Then, when the next drought inevitably arrives, the chorus of whining for more dams, more environmental destruction, and “Man made drought caused by Congress” begin anew.

      Neat to learn that Maven’s Notebook provides a link to OTPR. OTPR is dead right that this exercise is going to show us what Gavin Newsom is made of.

  5. Don

    It’s not just Friant. The Valley Blueprint is Valley wide and includes non ag participants, NGOs, disadvantaged communities and real live people who work and live here. I don’t get the push back. It’s community organizing.

  6. Anonymous

    Noel you are so brave to speak out against the evil farmer…….love that the brazen are so bold when their bellies are full of food and grocery shelves are chocked full of endless choices. Farmers are not the bad guys here. We are only trying to operate businesses with the resources we were promised to be supplied by, resources that are paid for and baked into everyone’s cost of living. The ag industry is always willing to compromise and work to solve problems but it isn’t good enough anymore. City folk would like us to just stop farming all together. I would not mind doing that just to see what chaos ensues……..