For residents of the North Bay and North Coast regions, what’s the impact of a grand compromise – if there is one – on water in Sacramento?
Most obvious is the bill.
Neither Sonoma nor Marin counties get any water from the state project. Neither do the counties farther up the coast. They would, however, have to help pay off $9.4 billion in state bond debt needed to buy the new plumbing.
So should the bonds be an automatic no vote for North Coast voters? Not necessarily.
There may not be much sympathy for Southern California swimming pools, and there’s plenty of reasons to have mixed feelings about Central Valley farmers, some of whom use their subsidized water to grow surplus crops to be sold into federal commodity price support programs.
But a plan that also emphasizes restoration of the deteriorating Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta might be worth paying for. And it might pay dividends for sport and commercial fishermen, two North Coast mainstays, if a healthier delta can reverse the decline in Sacramento River salmon fisheries. Salmon are the real issue in the Delta, but it’s easier for those only interested in shipping more water south to demonize smelt.
Does the plan unveiled in Sacramento this week pass that test? I’m want to hear more about it before I decide. What do you think?
— Jim Sweeney