leaders preparing for big water rally in Sacramento
July 26, 2018
Merced County Supervisor Daron McDaniel
announced the need for as many people as possible to attend
the upcoming Aug. 20 water rally organized by State Assemblyman
It is to be held on the steps of the State
Capitol to protest Phase 1 of the State Water Resources
Control Board’s Bay Delta Plan.
"We will get you there," McDaniel exclaimed during
a Tuesday meeting in Merced. "The Merced County Farm
Bureau has a plan to haul people up there to a rally to
stop the state water grab."
The water grab he was referring to involves the July 6
release by the state's water board of its final draft plan
to increase by 40 percent, within a range of 30 to 50 percent,
unimpaired flows through the Lower San Joaquin River and
its tributaries, the Stanislaus, Tuolumne and Merced Rivers.
This move is being hailed by environmentalists and fishery
representatives as a fair way to allow those downstream
to be able to rely on the state’s natural resources,
but is being criticized by agribusiness representatives,
who believe the insufficiency of water to the local area
will devastate farming.
In support of its decision, the water board said the increased
water flows would "prevent an ecological crisis, including
the total collapse of fisheries".
The board further stated, "A dramatic decline in the
populations of native fish species that migrate through
and inhabit the Delta has brought some species to the brink
It added: "While multiple factors are to blame for
the decline, the magnitude of diversions out of the Sacramento,
San Joaquin and other rivers feeding into the Bay-Delta
is a major factor in the ecosystem decline."
The Merced Irrigation District and the California Farm
Water Coalition voiced strong opposition to the water board’s
The Farm Water Coalition’s response to the decision
was that it will "leave thousands of acres of farmland
with zero surface supply in certain water year types, stripping
the Central Valley of over 6,500 jobs and over $6 billion
in economic output."
Board Chairman Jerry O’Banion said during the meeting
that the counties of Merced, Stanislaus and San Joaquin
are networking to convince the state water board to consider
its recent decision from the standpoint of its impacts on
humans, "not just fish."
Supervisors Pareira and McDaniel are involved in the three-county
networking effort, he said.
Describing the networking effort, Pareira explained, "We
met at the Stanislaus County administration building. There
were several supervisors present from the three counties.
Water staff from each of the counties were there, and representatives
from the local irrigation districts. It was a strategic
planning session on what to do in regard to the Water Board
acknowledging that they are going to approve the supplemental
environmental document that plans to take 30 to 50 percent
of the unimpaired flows from the Merced, Stanislaus and
Tuolumne Rivers. Last week, Stanislaus County voted to put
$50,000 into a fund, and today the Supervisors voted to
put $50,000 into the fund, and there is an expectation that
San Joaquin County will do something similar. That money
would be used to educate the public on what’s happening
and stimulate push back against the plan."
Assistance at the Federal level may be on the way.
On July 20, Congressmen Jeff Denham and Tom McClintock
invited Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to tour Don Pedro
Reservoir and New Melones Lake. Zinke was interested in
mobilizing the Trump Administration to help solve the problem
at the Federal level and thought water storage was an important
factor in the solution. He felt the problem could be solved
by bringing all the interested parties together and making
sure all the stakeholders have a say.