One of the most important things the federal government can do for California’s water crisis is to fund more dams.
If you think that California’s water problem can be solved with only dams: you are wrong. The changing climate means that the water is not there. If you think that you can solve California’s water problem with only water restrictions: you’re equally wrong. You will bankrupt farmers and destroy California’s agricultural industry.
We know, given climate change, that we will have these droughts in the future: that means a greater reliance on groundwater. The economics of these projects are clear, and every acre-foot of surface water capacity represents a foot less of groundwater users will need to pump.
Doug LaMalfa likes to claim that he knows water because he has a family tradition of using water. That is like a fox saying he should be in charge of the henhouse because he comes from a long line of foxes. The Steiners have a tradition of actually solving water problems in the West. My grand-uncle, Wesley Steiner, was Deputy Director of the California Department of Water Resources before becoming DWR Director in Arizona. There, he managed multiple competing issues in building the Central Arizona Project aqueduct, which moves 1.5 million acre-feet/year: balancing environmental and cost concerns while convincing farmers to tolerate groundwater limits.
I hope you will give me a chance to carry on the Steiner family’s tradition of solving water issues in the West through intelligent, balanced policymaking.
- The federal government should fund 25% of Sites Reservoir for environmental water: cross-subsidizing capacity needed for urban and agricultural use while protecting vulnerable ecosystems.
- The federal government should continue to explore the Shasta Dam raise, and explore mechanisms to recoup costs through sales on the California Water Futures market.
- The federal government should continue to support California state efforts to balance groundwater use to provide an environmentally sustainable supply of water for users across the state.