Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Hagman Op-Ed on Water

From Assemblyman Hagman's website.

Democrats And Water Don't Mix Well

In the past year, our communities have been hit hard with the housing crisis, followed by the state budget crisis, and now another huge challenge looms ahead. The cascading water crisis is here now, so how can we protect the future of the Chino Valley?

Replenishing our dwindling water supplies in the Chino Valley must be a top priority for lawmakers in Sacramento. Our existence, our economy and the jobs of millions of Californians are now at stake. The crisis is so bad that a local water agency, Monte Vista Water District, has enforced mandatory conservation and has prohibited the watering of landscapes during daytime hours. Other agencies like the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power have also allotted less water to customers to use at current rates, leading to higher bills for many families. Chino Hills and Chino have instituted a non-mandatory water conservation program and hopefully they will not have to move to a compulsory program.

The causes of the water crisis are straightforward. As California's population has grown by roughly half a million people each year, the demand for water becomes greater. However, supplies have been drastically reduced. Our state is experiencing a third straight year of drought. To compound the problem, a federal judge strictly limited the water we receive from the San Joaquin Delta in Northern California to protect a fish. This is significant because the Delta provides water to most of Southern California. Any more reductions will affect our quality-of-life by requiring mandatory conservation and rationing. This leads to more browned lawns, higher food prices, and a deeper recession. The water crisis is not just a Delta or Chino Valley problem; it/s California problem.

That's why the Legislature needs to pass a comprehensive water plan soon. Unfortunately, Sacramento Democrats put forward a plan that mandates more conservation and creates more government bureaucracy. Their plan requires cities to cut water use by 20% by 2020, a laudable but unrealistic goal for Southern Californians who have little left to conserve. Democrats also want to create an unaccountable "Delta Stewardship Council" that will decide our water future without a vote of the Legislature or the people. This will only make the crisis worse as they would have the authority to impose stricter regulations that would make it practically impossible to increase supplies. Making government bigger won't give anyone one extra drop of water.

Not surprisingly, the Legislature failed to reach an agreement before the end of last session. As talks continue, my Republican colleagues and I are fighting for a comprehensive solution that will boost water supply and reliability.

We want to create new groundwater storage to capture more rainfall and snowmelt. About 40% of Southern California's water supply is stored in groundwater basins. Building more of this type of storage is essential to a balanced solution. We also want to improve the delivery of water received from the Northern part of the state. By upgrading delivery, we can bypass the Delta and its restrictions, helping to ensure enough water for the future.

Californians deserve better from Sacramento than an unbalanced plan that only caters to extreme coastal environmentalists at the expense of working families. We need a plan that works for everyone, and I am committed to doing everything I can to pass a water solution that works now and in the future.

California State Assemblyman, Curt Hagman (R) represents the 60th District, including Anaheim, Chino Hills, Diamond Bar, Industry, La Habra, La Mirada, Orange, Rowland Heights, San Dimas, Walnut, & more. He can be reached at (909) 627-7021.

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