In this drier than average year, water continues to be a point of major contention for Californians; decisions on water policy should be made with all of the stakeholders at the table, which includes northern and southern California, the valley, water districts that manage the water and many others. However, this basic principle seems to have been ignored once again in the State Water Resources Control Board’s latest report related to the impacts of hydroelectric power generation.
According to a press release from the newly formed San Joaquin Tributary Association, the group consisting of water districts along the San Joaquin River, the SWRCB never even contacted a single water operator along to river for its analysis. These are the organizations who are currently operating the existing hydroelectric power facilities along the river, but the SWRCB did not bother to consult them.
As a result, the release further claims the results of the report cannot be trusted and raises serious doubts about the thoroughness and overall quality of the report and its conclusions since it does not include any information from the people who understand the dynamics of hydrogenenation in the region best.
This appears to be yet another case of the State ignoring information it does not want to hear in order to obtain the results it wants to find. The report is part of mandatory proceedings leading up to the state board’s adoption of new flow standards on the Stanislaus, Tuolomne and Merced rivers, which feed the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. So obviously the State is not going to consult the people that it is planning to take the water from later on down the line.
As Allen Short, the Manager of the Modesto Irrigation District and member of the San Joaquin Tributary Association said in the release, “You cannot conduct a vital analysis like this without gathering accurate information from the sources on the front lines. Decisions with implications of this magnitude need to be made with all of the information on the table. This process demands real science, not abstract predictions, because in the end, it will be California ratepayers who suffer the consequences.”
You can read the whole press release from the San Joaquin Tributary Association here.