Posted by: Jan | January 4, 2014

Meral resigned, but is not gone


Jerry Meral may have resigned, but he is still arguing in favor of tunnels today in the Sacramento Bee. It’s amazing how he can continue to justify his viewpoints when every paragraph in his article is either misleading or just untrue.

The Sacramento Bee has a new Comment system based on vouchers. I don’t know the California Farm Water Coalition representative manages to get vouchers to post a negative comment on every anti-tunnel SacBee press article, but I can’t get one even after I signed up for a Sac Bee subscription!

So in case you saw the Jerry Meral article, here’s what he has wrong:

  • Meral says: “Existing water diversions from the south Delta cause fish problems by diverting and killing fish from dead-end channels. Moving the diversion point upstream to the Sacramento River would allow river flows to safely carry young fish past the fish screens at the new intake.”

    Misleading. The main cause of the fish problems is too much water being exported which reverses the flow. The Bay Institute and State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) Delta Flows report clearly states that the “fix” is to reduce the level of pumping during migration times. Removing more fresh water upstream and reducing the overall flow through the Delta is not a fix. The Delta needs fresh water flowing through it.

    Unproven and Speculative. The new diversion point “fish protection” is based on fish screens that haven’t been invented yet. Meanwhile they claim they can’t invent screens or a configuration at the current location to better protect fish.

  • Meral continues: “A new diversion point is strongly supported by independent and university biologists and state and federal fish agencies.”

    Misleading. There are as many or more scientists that oppose the tunnels saying they will mean the extinction of salmon and other species. The Federal Fish & Game have not agreed that the tunnels will not kill the fish.

  • Meral states: “Another concern is whether Sacramento County water users might somehow be harmed by a new diversion point on the Sacramento River south of the city of Sacramento.”
    1. Meral has two responses to this concern – first: “The proposed new diversion is downstream of the water intakes for the city of Sacramento and Sacramento County water users. Physically, there would be no way for the new diversion (the intake to the tunnels) to take any water needed by Sacramento water users.”

      Misleading. Sacramento water users may not be harmed directly from where the pumps are located but will be harmed long-term due to more water being extracted from the system and sent south. The BDCP modeling shows their plan is to take Folsom Reservoir down to a dead pool level (10% full) during dry years to provide enough water for the farmers. That is Sacramento’s drinking water. Also, by removing fresh water before it flows through the Delta, it risks the Delta becoming saltier which threatens other Delta communities’ drinking water.

    2. Second: “Layers of institutional guarantees ensure that none of Sacramento’s water could ever be diverted by the state and federal water projects. Sacramento has very secure water rights, which long predate those of the state and federal water projects. State “area of origin” water laws protect the rights of counties upstream of the Delta to use the water they need before any can be exported.”

      Untrue. The layers of agencies all have a water contractor with veto power so that any decision that would protect the fish by cutting back water exports could be postponed indefinitely while the fish all die. See “The fox are guarding the henhouse”.

  • Last, Meral states: “Through the Bay Delta Conservation Plan, the state and federal water project operators seek the same assurances and offer the same commitment to contribute to the recovery of threatened and endangered species.”

    Untrue: The water contractors will have veto power over operations and they have no commitment to endangered species. I’ve heard the two top officials of the Westlands Water District at different times both say they weren’t going to spend any more money for salmon. Westlands sued to try to get water releases from the Trinity stopped even when it was clear to not release some water would kill the salmon eggs. Westlands is trying to get rid of bass in the Delta and Orcas in the NorthWest because they claim those species are what is causing harm to salmon – they won’t admit it is the over exporting that is killing the salmon. Metropolitan Water District was the agency behind the “2-Gates” project which would have been a disaster for boating communities in the South Delta.

    Yet Meral can believes there is a “commitment” to the recovery of endangered species?

See Jerry Meral Viewpoint to read it for yourself.

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