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No on Proposition 1 – the Water Bond

The Water Quality, Supply, and Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2014 (AB1471), the Water Bond, is on the ballot this November for voter approval. Proponents want us to believe that it will “save” water by building dams and reservoirs. It won’t. It is designed to remove dams, not create them. It supports wetlands restoration, not water storage.

In the beginning, this bill called for the removal of four Klamath River dams. The language has been changed to make its intent less obvious, and the intent stands.

79732. (a) In protecting and restoring California rivers, lakes, streams, and watersheds, the purposes of this chapter are to:



(4) Protect and restore aquatic, wetland, and migratory bird ecosystems, including fish and wildlife corridors and the acquisition of water rights for instream flow.

(6) Remove barriers to fish passage.




That’s dam removal.

79736. Of the funds authorized by Section 79730, four hundred seventy-five million dollars ($475,000,000) shall be available to the Natural Resources Agency to support projects that fulfill the obligations of the State of California in complying with the terms of any of the following:

(e) Any intrastate or multiparty settlement agreement related to water acted upon or before December 31, 2013.

Those agreements include the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement that calls for the removal of four dams that today provide not only water storage and flood control, but clean hydroelectric power to over 70,000 homes. The dams also sustain a crucial fish hatchery.

Here is the text of Jerry Brown’s California Water Action Plan, which is where that $475,000,000 will be directed:

Page 11 Bullet 2:

4. PROTECT AND RESTORE IMPORTANT ECOSYSTEMS

Continue Restoration Efforts in the Klamath Basin

The Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Natural Resources Agency will continue to work with diverse stakeholders to implement the Klamath Basin restoration and settlement agreements. … The administration will work with Congress to secure the necessary federal authorizations for the agreements and secure the necessary funding for removal of four hydroelectric dams on the Klamath River and funding for the necessary basin restoration.

(http://resources.ca.gov/docs/california_water_action_plan/Final_California_Water_Action_Plan.pdf)

Between the years 2000 and 2006 voters approved Propositions 12, 13, 40, 50 and 84 which all promised water protection of some sort. Each of those cost taxpayers double what they voted for, and they got nothing in return. The billions of dollars attached to those bonds were redirected to carry out various environmental groups’ objectives, as well as those of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW). Taxpayer monies have been used to help conservation organizations, such as The Nature Conservancy, acquire ranches and conservation easements to establish CDFW control over the rural economy. The results have been putting ranchers out of business and closing down access roads into mountainous areas.

In Chapter 6 of the Water Bond we learn that $327,500,000 will go to such conservancies, $25,000,000 to the Sierra Nevada Conservancy alone. The word “acquisition”is used several times.

Who has contributed to Prop 1? Corporate agriculture businesses are on the list.

One contributor in particular is Beverly Hills billionaire Stewart Resnick who owns Paramount Farms. He turned a dry-farm ranch into an irrigated property to grow pomegranates, pistachios, almonds and oranges.

He also controls the Kern Water Bank.

The Kern Water Bank, which is the nation’s largest underground water banking system, was once owned by the people of California. Now it’s a private company run by Resnick. The Department of Water Resources (DWR) built canals and pumps to connect the water bank to the state’s aqueduct system in order to move water from storage sites to farms and cities. It prioritized urban water supplies during droughts. In 1994 the state’s water plan was changed to serve the interests of agribusiness and developers.

The Resnicks are only one contributor in support of Prop. 1, but they alone have plenty of practice in taking and selling resources. They own Fiji Water.

To read more about Resnick’s potential to make a lot of money controlling our water, and to find a record of other contributions he’s made, please see the article entitled: Water, Money, Taxes, Campaigns, and the Bond: The Resnick Farming Story.

(http://restorethedelta.org/blog/water-money-taxes-campaigns-bond-resnick-farming-story/)

It would be good for us to learn from our past mistakes.

Vote NO on Proposition 1.

Jean Gerard lives in Nevada City.


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