December 6, 2010

SoCal water district confronts Endangered Species Act, loss of water

By SoCal water district confronts Endangered Species Act, loss of water

Author: Brandon Middleton

The Ramona Municipal Water District has adopted a noteworthy resolution, perhaps a sign of a new "united front" for water districts in the fight against the regulatory drought and harsh Endangered Species Act water restrictions.  From the Ramona Sentinel:

The resolution states that the Endangered Species Act (ESA) implementation activities in California, particularly in the Bay Delta in the north, have had a major impact on water deliveries in recent years.

"Restrictions on water diversions to protect Delta smelt and salmon have exacerbated the effects of multiple dry years, resulting in significant economic disruption without a measurable improvement to the Delta ecosystem or affected species," states the resolution.

The resolution also points out that timing is critical for the new state administration and the Obama administration to understand the support among the water communities.  Although RMWD Director Darrell Beck supported the resolution, he disagreed with a line that said local water agencies support ESA.

"This is a blank check for the environmentalists to control the land," he said of the Endangered Species Act. "It really doesn’t have a lot to do with the species. They use that as a tool to manage the land. I’ve been fighting against this for 20 years and to explain to people what the Endangered Species Act is and what it isn’t."

Beck said legislators need to consider the economic impact ESA has had on humans. He also said ESA is one of the primary reasons that fees and projects cost so much in the Ramona water district.

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