Auburn, Calif.- In a strongly worded letter to a joint state senate and assembly committee, the Placer County Water Agency has voiced opposition to proposed state legislation that would adversely affect local, area-of-origin water rights and supplies, mandate reductions on local water use and impose new state-mandated costs on water users.
In an Aug. 11 letter to the joint committee, PCWA Board Chairman Gray Allen stated the agency’s objection to a package of five bills set for hearing on August 18 at the Capitol.
Allen cites six broad principles advocated by PCWA in the letter. It was submitted to counter the latest effort by the State as it advances legislation with a dual goal to implement a multi-billion dollar plan to restore fish habitat in the Delta and to assure water supplies to 25 million Californians in the Bay Area and Southern California.
Allen states, ‘PCWA is unalterably opposed to legislation mandating taking Placer County’s water supplies for export to and use by other areas of California. The people of Placer County have had to depend upon themselves to develop local Sierra surface water supplies since the 1850’s and have been using it in an efficient and prudent manner. Other areas of the State have not properly planned the same way and are now seeking to legislatively take what is not theirs.’
The principles highlighted in the agency’s letter are:
1. PCWA opposes any legislation that reduces protection of the rights of counties and watersheds of origin to use their natural water resources to the extent needed for the present and future prosperity and economic well-being of their areas.
2. PCWA opposes any legislation that mandates any statewide limits on per capita water uses.
3. Exports of water from Placer County should be limited to the water that is surplus to Placer County’s need.
4. PCWA opposes any legislation that imposes program costs or fees on those who do not benefit from them.
5. Legislation should be consistent with the State Water Plan and the Public Water Coalition of California report.
6. All water should be used efficiently.
PCWA General Manager David A. Breninger said, ‘The agency has consistently expressed its concerns on onerous legislation proposing to strip water from the people, economy and ecosystem of Placer County for the purpose to benefit other areas of the State.’
He added, ‘Taken together, if the package of five bills is enacted, it would, among other things, mandate 20 percent water use reduction in Placer County in order to make that water available to those elsewhere who have outpaced their water supplies and in so doing have also altered the Delta’s ecosystem. Such a mandated extraction of Placer County’s water resources is ill-advised public policy, is no way to attain efficient or wise use of water and is opposed by PCWA.’
The agency letter is directed to Chair Fran Pavley and members of the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee and to Chair Jared Huffman and members of the Assembly Committee on Water, Parks & Wildlife. Copies of the letter were also sent to local state senators, assembly members, local government officials and associations.
The five bill package has recently been renumbered for the joint committee and is marked as pre-print bills AB 1, AB 2, SB 1, SB 2, and SB 3.