Aug 24 2014
Water-The Third Rail Part XXXI Water Storage? NOT!
Gary Arant, General Manager at Valley Center Water District (VCMWD) authored an opinion piece in the 8/23/2014 UT San Diego titled “Water Bond Never Depicted As Panacea”.
He knows about water and water distribution overseeing forty-two reservoirs with a capacity of 421 acre feet; 291 miles of water lines using twenty-six pump station containing ninety-six pumps connected in seven places to the California aqueduct. VCMWD has emergency water storage at Lake Turner that has a capacity of 1,612 acre feet. To move all of this water takes pump capacity consuming 19,949 horsepower.
There is no question his constituency is agri-business with VCMWD consuming 79% of the water he moves; Residential makes up 17% and commercial 4%. Four of the five members on his board are farmers, ranchers or citrus growers.
He knows about wastewater, too. In addition to water supply, “the District provides wastewater treatment and reclamation services for approximately 2,750 customers through two facilities: the 500,000 gallon per day (gpd) Lower Moosa Canyon Water Reclamation Facility (Moosa), and the 70,000 gpd Woods Valley Ranch Water Reclamation Facility. Moosa serves the I-15 corridor area from the Lawrence Welk Development on the southern end, east to Rimrock and Hidden Meadows, and north to Circle R. Woods Valley Ranch treats wastewater from the Woods Valley Ranch Development, returning the reclaimed water to the Woods Valley Ranch Golf Course for irrigation.”
Clearly he wants to import water from the State Water Project, and the Colorado River, and the best way to assure water delivery to his agricultural base has water is to make sure the $7.5 billion water bond gets voter approval. He recycles his wastewater for golf courses and agricultural uses. Potable recycling is antithetic to the interests of his board. They need cheap agricultural water, however they can get it, either through partially treating wastewater or directly from the State Water Project.
That’s why he is in favor of the storage provisions of the $7.5 billion dollar water bond, and makes the statement, “Achieving true water supply “Independency” for San Diego is not realistic.” He is right, but we can get close, just as Perth, Australia has. Funds for potable recycling and desalination go against his and his board’s agenda. The 79% water usage for agricultural purposes falls right in line with the State’s overall use of 80%. The question for San Diego voters is: Should the water needs of a few farmers be more important than sustaining the water needs of over three million San Diego County residents?
Overall, San Diego’s water use for agriculture is ten percent, but not in Valley Center. Agriculture does contribute to the economy of San Diego County, with an astounding seven thousand farms, more than any other county in the entire US. But does it make sense to artificially grow crops in the desert where the average annual rainfall is ten inches, when it takes over twenty inches per acre (actually more) to grow avocados and other produce?
California votes will be facing the formidable lobbying of agri-business that lusts for passage of the water bond. Will they win? Las Vegas odds makers will put anything up on the board for those who wager for a living. Let’s watch the board. A guess is that Californians will see WATER in the title, not bother to read the fine print and vote yes. Too bad for the tens of millions who live in Southern California who think that yes vote will significantly add one drop of water to their residential and commercial needs. Mr. Arant plainly says so. He is not hiding anything. Vote no on Proposition One, “Water Quality, Supply and Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2014”.
About Alumni at the University of Montana