Sunday, October 5, 2014

Water Use Meeting Saturday

At The Library

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John Livingston introduces Anita Brady

The first meeting in the Earth Water Climate Series of informational events on specific topics relating to the north state took place at the Redding Library Saturday. It was a good start beginning with Anita Brady presenting the video Sierra To The Sea produced by U.C. Davis.

What brought most people though was the chance to get more information on how Proposition 1 would affect northern California if it should pass on November 4.

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John Livingston - Sierra Club/Shasta Group

There were two scheduled speakers. John Livingston provided introductions and kept things moving. Questions from those of us who had them, were asked following each speaker.

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Barbara Henningan - Executive director, Butte-Sutter Basin Area Groundwater Users Group

The first speaker was Barbara Henningan. She talked about groundwater, surface water, and paper water. Paper water is the result of officials selling more water rights than there is water. From her lively presentation I learned some of the intricacies and vagaries of how water below and above ground interact and that not all aquifers are alike, (even within the same general area).

I also learned that our area holds ⅔ of California’s developed water, but we are only .2% of the state’s population. To lawmakers in Sacramento, we don’t matter, but the water does.

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Bruce Ross - District director for Assemblyman Dahle

The second speaker was Bruce Ross. He lives here in Redding. I remember him using an online comment of mine in the print version of the Redding Searchlight when he was one of the editors there. It was nice to see him again.

He represented Assemblyman Dahle to smooth over some of the rumors and local opposition to Proposition 1. He had a nice talkative upbeat delivery as he smoothly told us money from the bond issue will not be used to meter wells, finance the water tunnels or build an extension on top of Shasta Dam. He had some nicely prepared answers to basic concerns.

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Some of the posters around the room

I asked him if it was true that the results of all the developments financed with the 7 billion dollars will at best be providing 1 to 5% additional water, he said, “Yes”.

I said, “That doesn’t seem like much bang for seven billion bucks”. “Has anyone considered reducing the demand from our largest water users, like the industrial factory beef business that takes 30% of our fresh water?”

“We certainly wouldn’t want to go after ranchers and farmers”, he quickly replied. “That wouldn’t go well”, he added while looking around for another question.

“I’m not talking about ranches and farms, Bruce. I am talking about industrial feedlot cattle and the tons of water-intensive alfalfa that is grown to feed them so they can be packaged as grass fed beef.”

“We can’t tell people what they can or can’t grow”, he responded.

“I bet we could buy them out for a lot less than seven billion dollars”, I answered.

At this point I could see organizers looking at the clock, so we wound down so John could wrap up in time for the Library to close. We all applauded Bruce for coming to the meeting and I went over to thank him for taking my questions.

Today’s Video;


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