Diana Suarez: We need a sensible approach to water management
Is the NID board abdicating its responsibility for sound and sensible water management?
The question before the board on Aug. 9 was whether to authorize their general manager to spend your money on the preparation of an application for a billion-dollar dam proposal without looking at the pools of money available under Proposition 1 for other opportunities, including groundwater storage and meadow restoration.
They voted to give Rem Scherzinger this authority.
NID’s application for dam funding under the Water Storage Investment Program is problematic in multiple ways. This is the only application that was considered in relation to the Centennial EIR. Meanwhile, there is another pool of money under Proposition 1 called Integrated Regional Water Management. This funding is intended to improve regional water self-reliance security and adapt to the effects on water supply arising out of climate change. (Sounds like the stated purpose and need for the proposed Centennial EIR.) Some of this funding is targeted specifically for our region consisting of the Mountain Counties from below Lassen to Fresno, a small area of competition.
The project applications are due at the same time, yet NID has not pursued an application under this category. The criteria for eligible projects includes: Projects designed to promote and practice integrated regional water management to ensure sustainable water uses, reliable water supplies, better water quality, environmental stewardship, efficient urban development, protection of agriculture, and a strong economy.
Why has NID neglected this opportunity for funding and failed to develop projects that meet these criteria?
Another pool of money available under Proposition 1 is for groundwater improvement projects. Many in our area are concerned more about diminished groundwater than another reservoir, yet NID did not pursue any funding or analysis to investigate this local concern. In fact, when questioned whether this water could be stored underground in the North American Sub basin under the Western Placer County Groundwater Management Plan (GMP), both Director Nick Wilcox, and Director John Drew shouted “No!” at the questioner.
In light of the new direction provided by the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, a change of course is in order. NID has for too long followed the lead of their general manager, an unelected position, and abdicated their authority to represent the citizens of our communities.
It is time to focus on other measures to meet today’s water challenges. Please employ the patience and wisdom for a thoughtful, informed and measured approach to water management. Our communities deserve nothing less.
Dianna Suarez lives in Colfax.
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