View Mobile Site

Supervisors fear Delta water grab

Major consequences for Manteca, Ripon & Lathrop

Text Size: Small Large Medium
POSTED May 24, 2013 2:02 a.m.

Frank Ruhstaller and Steve Bestolarides are rallying the troops as California’s perennial water wars heat up.

This time they warn San Joaquin County’s economic vitality and ability to make local land use decisions without potentially kowtowing to a regional agency are at stake.

The  two county supervisors appeared before the Manteca City Council Tuesday to underscore the importance of the county and cities staying united in a bid to counter efforts they fear will devastate the county’s biggest employer - agriculture - as well as lose local control over development to the Delta Protection Commission.

Making county and city leaders uneasy is Gov. Jerry Brown’s plans for an underground  peripheral canal via two twin tunnels that would divert Sacramento River flow near Hood south to the California Aqueduct near Tracy without any of that water flowing through the Delta.

That would leave the San Joaquin River and its tributaries such as the Stanislaus River that Manteca, Ripon, and Lathrop cities and farmers depend upon for water being forced to cover court mandated minimum flows for fish in  the Delta. The same rivers would be needed to keep salt water intrusion in check in the Delta as well. The only way that could happen is water that is now used for agriculture as well as for cities in the county would have to be taken.

Ruhstaller noted the largest segment of the Delta is within San Joaquin County. He also pointed out that the Delta - which is the heart of the massive plumbing system that transfers water from the water-rich north to the thirsty south - is used to meet the water needs of 25 million people.

Ruhstaller noted those pushing the twin tunnels are a coalition of major urban water districts in the Los Angeles Basin and San Diego as well as the Bay Area plus large corporate farming interests on the southern and western side of the San Joaquin Valley.

“Water flows uphill defying gravity to find votes and money,” Ruhstaller mused of California’s water wars.

All cities in the county as well as the county and every water district have united in a bid to limit the future power of the Delta Protection Commission. The agency was set up by the legislature to act much like the California Coastal Commission. That means when they deem a land use could impact the Delta they could intervene and overturn local decisions.

Commenting is not available.

Commenting not available.

Please wait ...