Jerry Brown Should "Shut Up" On Water
by Deacon Blues
At a meeting of California water agency officials in Sacramento Wednesday, Governor Jerry Brown said that critics of his multi-billion dollar water tunnels plan should “shut up” until they fully understand the project.
Gov. Jerry Brown said Wednesday that critics of his twin tunnels water diversion plan should "shut up" until they spend more time studying it, defending the project and strict water conservation rules as California grapples with a fourth year of drought.
Brown’s remarks prompted laughter at a meeting of water agency officials in Sacramento, and his office said he made them in jest.
But they came amid heightened tension over Brown’s controversial tunnels plan and new statewide conservation requirements.
My simple response to the governor is that he should shut up until he proposes something that actually deals with the real problem, which is that California has a long-term water supply problem that cannot be fixed through conservation and more water transfers to Southern California.
Brown has had five years now to see how the changing climate in California has significantly affected snowfall and snowpack supplies in the Sierra Nevada. It should have been clear to any college graduate during that time that the State is no longer consistently getting enough of a snowpack to create the necessary supplies needed to fill reservoirs and the downstream water delivery system. Yet all we have seen from this governor for big infrastructure projects are the delta tunnels and the bullet train. And the only action at the state level to date took place only recently, when the State Water Resources Control Board waited until this year to finally issue desalination plant guidelines for local districts to follow.
Yet for the last five years, local districts have been left to themselves to develop their own solutions and deal with the financing and litigation challenges that come from a state government that is AWOL on the issue.
The only way for California to deal with the water shortage long-term is to deal with supply (creating more drinkable water) as well as demand (conservation). And the only way to do that is for the State to be working closely with local water agencies on a statewide plan to create more water through water desalination and reclamation plants partially financed through the State’s bond financing capabilities.
In the last five years, it is simply a dereliction of duty on the Governor’s part that there isn’t already a 20-year plan to create more water, much in the same way his father Pat Brown helped push through the California State Water Project decades ago. But then again, it's also a dereliction of duty for this governor to allow fracking to go ahead unimpeded without any regard for the enviroment or water aquifers.
I'm sure the governor was speaking partly or mostly in jest on Wednesday. But it only points out that five years into his second run through the statehouse, he lacks the vision and capacity that his father had.