Silent nights, Delta decisions


When I awoke this morning, our yard was covered in snow. Its beauty was breath-taking. Had I not known it was snowing when I went to bed, I would not have anticipated what awaited me this morning. The snow fell silently all night without announcing its presence through blustery wind and deafening downpour.

There’s something going on now in Sacramento and elsewhere that isn’t making much noise here. As we go about our business, studies are being released, decisions are being made, and an outcome we may not like is falling into place silently, or so it would seem. Just like the snow last night, by the time most of us notice what’s being talked about for the Delta and peripheral canal, our world could look much different. 

Locomotive-like support is building to restore the health of the Delta and build a peripheral canal to take water from above Sacramento and speed it more directly south along the east side of the Central Valley. If you are suspicious, you might suspect that water exporters finally found the sweetner they need to sell the deal to Northern California.

Sacrificial lambs identified so far include agricultural producers on the islands that may be flooded as part of the Delta restoration, historic and traditional practices and lifestyles, cultural resources, and local economies (including counties that receive tax revenues from ag producers). Oh yes, and there was a little sentence in one of the plans that referred to conservation actions that might need to be implemented upstream from the Delta (that’s here).

The recommendations of scientists, conservationists, blue ribbon panels, and Southern California water interests may lead to mountain counties being required to consume less water to slake the thirst of natural and human communities elsewhere. We do need to conserve, but may be required to go beyond voluntary compliance. You don’t want to sleep through this one.

Lest you not anticipate what’s now being decided about water resources in the state and wake up unhappily surprised, the Sacramento Bee has compiled a good section on what’s happening in the Delta and peripheral canal dialogue. Check it out:

No matter your opinion on the proposed Delta restoration or a proposed peripheral canal, you will likely be asked to vote on it because it will cost billions of dollars. And expect impacts in our own backyard.

We are planning a joint Board meeting with Tuolumne Utilities District, likely in January. We’ll study our current water consumption, TUD’s system, future needs based on population growth, see how we can better work together as agencies, and discuss what’s going on down in the Delta, as well. I’ll announce the date here and we’ll publicize it in the paper and on radio. Don’t miss it.


7 thoughts on “Silent nights, Delta decisions

  1. Teri, Always appreciate you comments on veterans. We are starting a new veterans group here in Tuolumne County and we also invite Calaveras County veterans to join us. The group is Veterans of Modern Warfare (WVM). To be eligible you must have served from Aug. 2, 1990 through the present. This encompasses the first Gulf War, Kosova, Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan. The first organizational meeting will be held on Mon. Jan. 26, 2009, in the downstairs dining room of Veterans Memorial Hall at 9 N. Washginton St., downtown Sonora at 7 pm. Bring your family with you. Light refreshments will be served. Thanks for all you do. Frank M. Smart, Columbia, CA.


  2. Dr. April Hejka-Ekins, MPA Graduate School Director, and I are of the opinion that a majority of policy initiatives are framed by incompetent or corrupt interests [private over public gain.] In my opinion, "the water issue" is reflective of corrupt and/or incompetent interests in Sacramento and Southern California. Because of contemporary financial issues it is a horrible time for government to spend with receipts from sale of bonds [E.g. Treasury Yields are high.] They ought to fund with a "pay-as-you-go" mechanism. This is unviable, for the described water project, because of the price tag and the present budget climate. Water Exporters, probably, do not care about the price tag of borrowing [self interest over public interest.]


    1. Water (and the lack thereof) does tend to bring out bad behavior, doesn't it?! And you are right – bonds are not a good way to go. We have indebted ourselves and our children for a very long time into the future and the legislature continues to look for new ways to increase that indebtedness.


  3. i hate to say this but… if we, as a community, want to conserve water [as well as other communities] it would be a good idea to use meters and charge per use of water. Price is a reasonable method for excluding use and can prevent waste from overconsumption [see law of diminishing marginal utility.] Simply stated, if you want less consumption of a unit increase the price of the unit. Simply argued, if Southern California can conserve more of its own water than it will not need northern california as much. It is possible the canal will not need to be built [causing mountain counties to be strained] and the state can avoid the higher costs of borrowing. Borrowing will also complicate the tight credit market for citizen-consumers [crowding out.]


  4. Morning, Brandon,

    I agree with you – popularity and prudent actions oftentimes do take separate paths, especially in politics. What you say about meters encouraging conservation is absolutely true.

    Let's hope more folks in politics begin to stand on common sense governance and let's hope we the people begin to ask that of them at every level. The rub comes when we disagree over what is common sense, no?



  5. Popularity and prudency are not always harmonious concepts. Your comment is an example of how political officials are aligned with sophistry and mob-beast taming. The public might hate meters but water shortages will diminish.


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