https://youtu.be/UTGyZbOaSPYby Don A. Wright
This past week there were two very interesting events. One was a farmer to farmer gathering in Sacramento. The Water Blueprint for the San Joaquin Valley sent a delegation of farmers from the San Joaquin Valley to meet with growers from the Delta. No district managers, no attorneys, no support staff – unfortunately no reporters – just farmers talking with farmers. The concern with Delta conveyance isn’t how the water is moved from the north to the south, they just don’t care if it’s a tunnel, a bucket brigade or a floating straw. The concern is with the water quality during the late summer and fall in the South Delta and parts of the Central Delta.
The other event was a Zoom meeting that took place Friday, November 3rd. It was put on by the State Water Control Board staff and I didn’t watch. In another what I hope is a correct use of the word “irony” I was attending a golf tournament hosted by the California Water Alliance.
But the Zoom meeting was about the State Board’s staff justifying their taking over the Tulare Lake Subbasin’s Groundwater Sustainability Plan. This GSP is the document that charts how a hydrological subbasin will achieve compliance with the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act provisions by 2040. The Tulare Lake Subbasin is one of a dozen or so subbasins that make up the San Joaquin Basin. If a GSP is determined inadequate by the Department of Water Resources the subbasin has 180 days to fix it. If upon review the revised plan is still inadequate it’s placed on probationary status and moved to the tender mercies of the State Board.
DWR deemed the following subbasin’s plans Inadequate – all are in the San Joaquin Valley:
- Chowchilla Subbasin in Madera and Merced counties
- Delta-Mendota Subbasin in San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Merced, Fresno, Madera, and San Benito counties
- Kaweah Subbasin in Tulare and Kings counties
- Tule Subbasin in Tulare County
- Tulare Lake Subbasin in Kings County
- Kern Subbasin in Kern County
The first subbasin the State Board is going after chronologically is the Tulare Lake Subbasin. The State Board staff sent a 180-page letter describing what it wants to do. I’ve only read the executive summary and it has this in it:
As part of its analysis, and as reflected in State Water Board Resolution 2021-0050, Condemning Racism, Xenophobia, Bigotry, and Racial Injustice and Strengthening Commitment to Racial Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, Access and Anti-Racism, the State Water Board considers the impacts of basin non-compliance on vulnerable communities, including communities of color.
It is important to know the State Board passed a resolution condemning the above but stopped short of adopting its staff proposal to institute an Office of Racial Equity. If I understand correctly, adopting that office would have given a legal opportunity to challenge the State Board’s extra reach into matters clearly not a part of its purpose – which is administering water rights. I’ve read all 60-pages of SGMA and It’s been a while. But I don’t recall any mention of BIPOC or racial equity or CRT or anything like that. Mission creep on steroids.
The State Auditor released a report showing millions of dollars wasted by the State Board granting funds for technical assistance to various NGOs. A far left NGO named Restore The Delta (which during the CRT resolution hearing advocated for the State Board to pay for RTD’s expenses under racial equity) joined forces with one of the Indian tribes and filed a complaint against the State Board with the federal Environmental Protection Agency claiming the State Board wasn’t considering the plight of BIPOCs when making its decisions. The EPA agreed to investigate.
We now have a federal agency investigating a governor appointed State Board for not being “woke” enough. Is it merely coincidence the Governor who appointed the State Board members is flying around the world tacitly campaigning for president against an incumbent of his own party? Is it possible a democrat president would weaponize a federal agency against a political opponent of his own party? Who knows? Perhaps this could be a reason the ubiquitous referral to racial equity is included in the report.
Some other questions that need answering are how does a subbasin get out of purgatory, I’m sorry, probation? Is there a transparent accounting of the grant money the State Board gave to Technical Advisors to help with outreach in the Disadvantaged Communities? Do they understand the situation with SGMA and their ag based employment?
Let’s find out. There will be an In-Person ONLY State Board staff workshop Wednesday evening November 8th from 6:00pm to 8:30pm at the Hanford Civic Auditorium, 400 N. Douty Street, Hanford California 93230. Staff will begin presentations at 6:00pm and begin accepting public comment at 7:00pm.
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