Whose hand is in whose pocket?

The North Delta’s Peter Stone is participating in the BDCP Public Finance Work Group. He notes that attendees are a who’s who of California State Water Contractors, plus various federal and state agencies and non-governmental organizations.

At last week’s meeting, reports Stone:

A very interesting discussion and persuasive argument came from a representative of Friant [Water Users Authority] (representing 29 Water Contractors near Fresno). (As an aside, he indicated that Friant has had a hard time getting access to BDCP planning meetings.)   Friant has 1.2 million acre feet of water delivered successfully to their clients and particularly the Cross Valley contractors for the last 60 years. He was indicating to the other water contractors and the group that Friant doesn’t believe that they should be paying for what they already get and get very reliably. Santa Clara Valley Water District didn’t agree with Friant’s very logical position saying anyone who gets water form the new system should pay for it. This just goes to show the very different views on this very pivotal issue of who pays and how much.

Next month, Stone will propose an agenda idea requesting that BDCP Chapter 8, which deals with financing, consider the cost of taking homes and other structures rather than just row crops, vineyards, and orchards. Without that, estimates for the total cost of the project will be unrealistically low.

Stone also believes that there needs to be another mechanism besides or in addition to eminent domain to ensure fair compensation for property taken. The BDCP process has already put 500,000+ acres of the Delta under a cloud, making it impossible for landowners to sell the property for what it would be worth without the threat of conveyance. So in that sense, the taking has already happened.

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