My last column discussed the need and innovative thinking that went into the development of the Friant Dam on the San Joaquin River to prevent flooding, generate electricity and store water for the Friant-Kern canal water system serving valley farms and cities.
From Chowchilla to Southern Kern County, including Fresno, Fresno County, and Farms and Cities in Tulare and Kern Counties, the Friant water system has delivered water to these Counties and cities all along the eastside of the valley for over 50 years ... Now I would like to write about the unscrupulous politicians trying to unravel this tremendously successful water project.
We need to understand why our jobs are drying up and why we are losing our water and who's responsible. The San Joaquin River Settlement Act was rushed through the US Senate by Senators Diane Feinstein and Harry Reid on a rare Sunday session in January 2009. By diverting class 2 Friant canal water from the Friant system to the ocean instead of to farms and cities on the east side of our Valley who have historically used this water for over 50 years to develop the very successful eastside economy.
Our valley water is being taken for a pipe dream to return a salmon run to the upper San Joaquin River. If this water were only taken in the spring it MIGHT be possible to restore a limited salmon run, however by storing water all summer behind Friant Dam to release it in the fall there is NO chance for salmon restoration. The water travels too far and is simply too hot by the time it reaches the ocean for salmon survival.
The very same politicians responsible for the San Joaquin River settlement threatening our valley economy, reject calls for the release of their Hetch-Hetchy Water stored in Yosemite National Park. Hetch-Hetchy Dam stores water and pipelines diverted water from Yosemite Park to the San Francisco Bay Area. It is the only Dam in the United States allowed in a National Park. San Francisco Bay area Politicians like Dianne Feinstein, Barbara Boxer, George Miller and Nancy Pelosi show their hypocrisy by promoting these two direct opposite positions at the same time.
The facts are Tulare County water Districts are heavily reliant on class 2 water deliveries from the Friant system to irrigate crops and recharge our groundwater supply for dry years. The San Joaquin River Settlement this year is sending precious Friant system water, water historically used on the valleys eastside for over 50 years to the ocean.
Since the passage of the San Joaquin River Settlement Act we are seeing our wells dry up as water tables plummet in the valley. When people ask why their water wells are going dry, they need to look no further than the redistribution of their contracted water to the Bay area, thanks to the unscrupulous politicians who cleverly crafted the San Joaquin Settlement Act.
Fish "Now" take priority over "OUR WATER USE", but not on the water San Francisco uses. The Bay area diverts valley water through hundreds of miles of huge pipelines from Hetch Hetchy Dam in Yosemite Park under the San Joaquin Valley directly to the Bay area. It is the most heavily subsidized water in California!
The position I take is not to deprive San Francisco of their water, but for these unscrupulous politicians to return our long established contracted water to us. Congressman Devin Nunes Water Bill HR 1837 will do that, it has passed the House of Representatives and is sitting in the United States Senate waiting for Senator Feinstein's actions to pass it or similar water legislation to save our valley's economy and jobs.
The fact is the highest numbers of salmon ever counted in the Sacramento- San Joaquin Delta were AFTER the Friant Kern project began operations. The Bay Area politicians have silently increased THEIR water diversions upstream from the Delta for their urban growth while at the same time blaming us and attacking our limited contracted water deliveries.
We need a water usage baseline established from past water diversions in the 1980's or early 1990's to equalize water diversions for cities, farms and the environment. The Friant-Kern Canal Water Project and the California Aqueduct that delivers contracted water for the State and Federal projects should not lose their contracted water to the unscrupulous Bay area politicians responsible for increasing water diversions upstream of the Delta to expand their urban growth.
The fact is the Bay area takes their water upstream from the San Joaquin River Delta and by doing so that makes them a part of Southern California, not Northern California as they claim. Their water resources come from far away, south and east of the Delta and they should have limitations on THEIR water diversions similar to ours.
Please pass this information on to Senator Feinstein, you can contact her at 202-224-3121. Be sure to ask her to pass HR 1837 it is crucial to the productivity of the San Joaquin Valley, our agricultural ECONOMY, our JOBS and the SURVIVAL of our valley cities.