My initial objection to the Resilience Portfolio was that it was a weasel phrase that could mean anything to anyone. It consists of a buzzword and a strategy, both flexible. But if the word “resilience” retains any shred of meaning, it excludes the San Joaquin Valley Water Blueprint. The SJV Water Blueprint is anti-resilience.
The purpose of the Water Blueprint is to maintain maximal irrigated acreage in the Valley, at the expense of every conceivable peripheral water source, at any cost. “Resilience” is starting to mean as little as “sustainable”, but it does not mean bolstering one million acres of overexpansion into marginal ag lands with no regard to the economic costs to taxpayers nor environmental costs to the water sources.
Setting demand at the uppermost engineered possibility and straining every limit to fulfill that demand is not resilient. Resilient would be protecting and supporting the couple million east side acres that we can farm in any water year, with a comfortable buffer that is intermittently farmed in wet years. Resilient is working within the cheap, solid parts of our existing engineered system, spending user fees to modernize them if needed. Resilient is maintaining ecosystems through wet and drought years. Resilient is acknowledging supply constraints (like keeping some fish alive and passing a cost-benefit analysis) and using a little less than that.
Let’s play out the concept of the SJV Water Blueprint for another decade or two. Even if we waved our magic wand and put the elements of the Blueprint in place now, it wouldn’t cover the increased ET from climate change, nor the possibility of drought at the sources. When the new 3MAF from the Blueprint isn’t sufficient, by the logic of the Blueprint, the next thing to do would be to reach out for the next available source. Their ag demand must be met, so they would then reach north for the Wild and Scenic Rivers, or east for I don’t even know which Sierra lakes. Cost is no object, by the logic of the Blueprint. This notion, that maximal irrigated acreage creates a fixed demand that must be met by reaching ever outward for MOAR WATER is inherently not resilient.
The San Joaquin Valley Water Blueprint has no place in a Resilience Portfolio.