Water Opponents Aim to Deceive Consumers
|September 4, 2012|
|Outside forces as far away as Oregon are suddenly concerned about future water rates in Los Angeles. If that sounds strange, well it is. Beware of long standing opponents of statewide water solutions who are now becoming self-anointed guardians of the Los Angeles water ratepayer.|
State and federal administrations have made great progress on a proposal to restore in Northern California the Sacramento-San Joaquin Deltaís ailing ecosystem and improve the conveyance of critical water supplies to Southern California, the Bay Area and the Central Valley. Physically separating the movement of the public water supplies from the estuary has emerged as a key part of the solution. The administrations are proposing 35-mile tunnels to transport the water from the Sacramento River to the aqueduct facilities as a way to increase reliability and reintroduce more natural flow patterns in the estuary.
Opponents are trying to convince public water agencies and their constituencies that protecting their water supplies with a better conveyance system is not worth the investment. And an activist group Food and Water Watch has underwritten a study by ECONorthwest out of Eugene, Oregon, to provide dramatically inflated estimates of the potential impacts on water rates in Los Angeles. As Stockton's The Record recently reported, "Opponents plan to use dollar signs to fight Delta tunnels."
Opponents of fixing the Delta suggest alternate sources of water like desalination, which many environmental groups strongly oppose and many experts say would be much more expensive than the Bay Delta Conservation Plan. They also suggest conservation, a solution that is already a big part of the regionís water future, not a new alternative that needs to be suggested by outsiders. The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California already has short-term plans to conserve and recycle more water in a typical year than it needs from Northern California.
While the final figures arenít in, Metropolitan is estimating that a conveyance solution in the Delta that would lead to a more reliable water supply for half a century would add $4 - $5 per month to a typical water bill. And in all likelihood, our generation will face a more modest investment than previous generations that voted to build the Metropolitan aqueduct system to the Colorado River and the State Water Project to Northern California.
There are many reasons to believe that the emerging Delta solution will make strong business sense for Los Angeles and all of California. There are also many reasons to be wary of outsiders who are suddenly worried about Los Angeles water rates.
And that's The Business Perspective.
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