The California Latino Water Coalition, as its name implies, is all about water. Here is how the Coalition is involved in state resources development and issues, working hard to better the lives of Latinos and all other Californians through advocacy of adequate, reliable and safe supplies of water:
Water Supply Infrastructure Bond. This continues to be the Coalition’s No. 1 priority because of its critical importance to so much of California’s water supply, economy and social well being. Knowing how water supply curtailments have harmed Latinos and many other Californians because of impacts on residents, business and industry, and agriculture, the Coalition was involved deeply in the initial 2009 framing of a $11.2 billion bond measure. Even though the Legislature has twice postponed voter action on the bond, Coalition members continue to support the proposal as the best chance California will have to address its long-term water supply and infrastructure needs. With the water bond (now scheduled to go before voters in November 2014) undergoing new public debate and consideration, the Coalition believes any restructured bond measure needs to include these crucial elements:
- Means of providing Delta sustainability, not only for fish habitat and the environment but for water supplies.
- Development of water storage facilities, both above and below ground.
- Means of providing disadvantaged communities with supplies of safe, reliable and high quality water so many such rural towns and villages are currently lacking, while helping clean up contaminated groundwater.
- Ways of helping fund regional water supply and infrastructure projects.
- Support for water conservation, and efficiency projects and management practices.
- Means of developing water re-use and recycling as well as desalinization projects to create new water supplies.
- Delta Conveyance. While related in many ways to potential benefits that could result from a successful water bond, developing new means of moving water around and through the Delta is vital. The twin tunnels proposed by Governor Brown’s administration would protect California’s water supply reliability and security against Delta levee and other infrastructure failures. These are that are essential to 26 million Californians and well over three million irrigated agricultural acres. Successful completion of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan would be the foundation for finally solving the Delta’s many problems, and meeting the coequal goals of water supply reliability and fixing the estuary’s environment.
- Delta Water Export Pumping Relief. Federal biological opinion mandates aimed at protecting fish such as the tiny Delta smelt under auspices of the Endangered Species Act for years have been dramatically reducing – and in some years incredibly critically – the amount of water that federal agencies will be allow to be pumped from the Delta. So far this winter, well over 720,000 acre-feet of water has been allowed to run to the ocean to prevent more than a few hundred Delta smelt from being entrained in the pumps used to export vital water supplies to the San Joaquin Valley, Southern California, the Bay Area and Central Coast. The Coalition continues to advocate for the best possible science, sound decisions on how to “fix” the Delta and keeping the economic and social well being of California farm workers, growers, business people and residents in mind. We support or are in sympathy with legislative and legal-challenge solutions. All of these are important in providing much-needed short- and long-term relief from pumping limits.
Other important water issues in which the California Latino Water Coalition is involved:
- Water Transfers and Exchanges. Transfers and exchanges are efficient, time-tested means that help water agencies and users assist one another to meet supply needs. Streamlining of government review and approval is absolutely necessary.
- Place of Use Restrictions. The Coalition advocates easing of government regulatory processes related to place of use.
- Public Involvement. Coalition members support and encourage the public to become better informed and involved directly in water issues and disputes.