Restore the Delta Opposed Monitoring of Delta Water Use

April 13, 2015

To: Interested Parties
Fr: Steven Maviglio, Restore the Delta Truth
Re: Restore the Delta Opposed Monitoring of Delta Water Use

In a time of unprecedented drought, it would seem most everyone would agree that managing limited water supplies requires accurate monitoring and reporting of actual water use.

Not Restore the Delta.

In 2009, state lawmakers passed a law that requires water users to report monthly breakdowns of Delta diversions to the State Water Resources Control Board. Rather than embrace this common-sense law, Restore the Delta loudly complained about the mandate.

In 2011, RTD saidit’s hard to see how the monitoring and reporting will yield useful information,” even calling it a “legislative whim.

Now we know why. As the Associated Press just reported:

“As California struggles with a devastating drought, huge amounts of water are mysteriously vanishing from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta — and the prime suspects are farmers whose families have tilled fertile soil there for generations.”

“Delta farmers don’t deny using as much water as they need. But they say they’re not stealing it because their history of living at the water’s edge gives them that right. Still, they have been asked to report how much water they’re pumping and to prove their legal rights to it.”

In February, the State Water Resources Control Board sent a letter to water users, demanding that they report how much water they’re taking. According to the letter: “The California Department of Water Resources and U.S. Bureau of Reclamation alleged that south and central Delta diverters were illegally diverting water in excess of their water rights…”

Among those sent the letter include five Restore the Delta key funders and board members, including:

  • Stokes & Lombardi Farms, owned by the family of Wendy Stokes – the former president of Restore the Delta and a current member of the RTD Executive Committee.
  • R&M Ranch, whose owner Robert Ferguson is a Restore the Delta Executive Committee member.
  • Several of the companies of Michael Robinson, another Restore the Delta Board member.
  • Dino Cortopassi, a major donor to RTD who was awarded the group’s “Delta Advocacy Award.”
  • Restore the Delta major donor AG Spanos.

Meanwhile, other farmers are suffering because, as one put it, “… I don’t have a pipe in the Delta I can suck willy-nilly whenever I want.”

As this AP report makes clear, Restore the Delta isn’t interested in actually restoring the Delta. It simply serves as a mouthpiece for wealthy Delta landowners and developers, even when the group’s actions are bad for the Delta – and the rest of our state.