Senator Anthony Cannella (R-Ceres) today delivered the following testimony at the State Water Resources Control Board hearing on the Bay Delta Plan Draft Substitute Environmental Document:
Thank you for the opportunity to address an issue of critical importance to my district. Your proposal to dedicate 35 percent unimpaired flow to fish and wildlife will devastate the district that I represent.
As you well know, our region is still feeling the effects of the recession. Stanislaus, Merced, and San Joaquin counties have among the highest unemployment rates in the state. Agriculture has been one of the only bright spots. And now this proposal stands to devastate an already troubled region.
Your own staff’s impact analysis forecasts “significant and unavoidable” damage to the region’s economy including: reductions in water deliveries that would require fallowing 128,000 acres of farmland; agriculture sector income losses that could amount to $187 million; and job losses that would exceed 1,200 a year.
Your proposal would also adversely impact hydropower production by taking water from reservoirs during the spring, which would leave less water available in the summer when it’s critically needed to irrigate crops and take pressure off the state’s power grid.
This proposal takes water at a time when it is most valuable and sends it down river with only a hope that it will benefit the fish population. Water is too valuable to waste on the hope that it will make a difference. I hope that you will rethink the approach you have advocated and develop a plan that works to the mutual benefit of the region rather than one based on faulty science.