Combatting The Water Board’s Plan

Combatting The Water Board’s Plan

January 10, 2017

Water Diversion Could Cause Businesses to Leave, Group Says

By Brian German, Associate Broadcaster

The State Water Resources Control Board recently held a public hearing to receive input on its Bay-Delta Water Quality Control Plan. The proposal would force the Modesto and Turlock irrigation districts to dedicate 40 percent of unimpaired flows along the Tuolumne River to benefit fish and wildlife. David White is the CEO of Opportunity Stanislaus, a company that is all about improving the economic vitality of Stanislaus County.  He noted how the proposal will negatively impact the local economy.

"We're going to lose at least 14,000 jobs, good paying jobs. … They didn't take into consideration all the processors we have here," White said.

The Bay-Delta Plan is required to be updated every three years by the State Water Board. The purpose is to identify the best use of water supplies and set quality objectives for the Bay-Delta. The Plan also establishes a system of implementation for achieving those water quality objectives. The effects of the proposal would be detrimental to some of the major operations in the area.

"You talk about E. & J. Gallo. You think about Del Monte, Seneca, Stanislaus Food Products. We have multi-billion dollar companies here that depend on water as their life blood. If they don't have their water ... they might have to leave. They're going to have to go where they can find that natural resource," White said.

Historically, Modesto and Turlock irrigation districts have managed surface water and groundwater in a natural, interdependent manner to keep groundwater quantity and quality sustainable.  Because of their policies, both districts' groundwater sub-basins are the only ones in the San Joaquin Valley that not listed in conditions of critical overdraft. The current proposal from the State Water Board would make it nearly impossible for the region to establish groundwater sustainability. It will also cause some operations to consider relocating.

"You can't process food without water, and you can't build an economy, you can't sustain an economy like we have here, without water. It's a vital resource," White said.

Opportunity Stanislaus is an economic development organization that provides services to businesses that will help them expand and succeed.  "Our job is to help local businesses grow, help attract new businesses and help really drive a workforce, helping to improve the workforce here locally," White explained.

Fighting back against proposals like the one from the State Water Board is exactly what the organization stands for.  "We're totally behind defeating this. … Our board, our investors, we're all about trying to sustain our local economy," White said.

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