To the Editor: GA ignores facts

The Groundwater Agency continues to ignore the fact that their own yearly groundwater storage data shows that our basin is not in critical overdraft. The “emergency” crafted by the Gleason board was bogus and the agenda to make us pay for extremely expensive imported water appears to be set from day one, regardless of what their own facts show.

At the last three GA meetings, and many other times before, the GAs’ yearly water report of 2020 has been pointed out as contradicting the staunchly held to amount of over 20,000 acre feet overdraft per year. This report is required by law to be submitted each year by groundwater agencies. The change in basin water storage is a specifically required data point in that report. The GA does have this data, and it is right there for all to see. Look at the GA annual water year report for 2020, on the GA website. On page 21 in Table 5-2 the estimated change in groundwater storage is plainly shown for years 2016 to 2020. This estimate was made using a widely known method which is basically tied to direct measurements of water level changes in numerous wells across the valley. It is the method of choice of the GA water resource manager. Look at the reported changes in the entire basin for these years.

In 2016 the change in reported basin storage was a INCREASE of 1,387 acre feet. In 2017 it was a decrease of 1,495 acre feet. In 2018 a decrease of 21,936 acre feet and in 2019 a decrease of only 133 acre feet. That is four years of data, which in one year the basin increased in storage, in one the basin had a small decrease in storage and in another year the basin barely decreased in storage at all. Why then are we having the instilled panic of over 20,000 acre feet yearly decrease? If you average the 2016 to 2019 reported basin storage change ( note that the 2020 is left out as it is now disavowed by the GA) you get a average yearly basin decrease of only 5,500 acre feet. That is NOT a dire emergency, yet the GA forges ahead with their agenda, having to fight about 5 lawsuits at a time. Any wonder we are having to pay an increase 250% for water use to them? They need the money to pay their lawyers and overpaid staff.

It clearly appears that our basin can be managed with smart water use, like using recycled water from the sewer plant and better using water from areas in the basin with yearly increasing water. A $300 million water importation behemoth is NOT the answer. The GA needs to be nailed to the wall with tons of people demanding they own up to this State required and reported data that shows that we have no extreme water emergency here.

The GA General Manager can be contacted at cthomaskeefer@rgs.ca.gov

Freedom to the People Mike Neel

Story First Published: 2022-03-25