Another View: Latest BDCP unclear, incomplete and unacceptable

Offers no assurances that Folsom Lake water supplies will be protected
By: Roseville Mayor Susan Rohan
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A guest commentary from Roseville's Mayor, Susan Rohan. 

On behalf of the Roseville City Council, I wanted to provide an update on where the City of Roseville is in responding to the current draft of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP), which includes the twin water tunnel alternative.  In December 2013, I provided the community with an update, in this newspaper, on where the city was with its comprehensive review of the BDCP.  This review has taken several months and has relied on an array of legal, hydrological modeling and biologist expertise.  With less than 30 days left for the public to comment on this document – I am left with a conclusion that says it all – the current draft of the BDCP is incomplete, fraught with bad assumptions, incorrect data and continues to provide an unclear picture on how the operation of the proposed twin tunnels will impact Folsom Lake – our primary water supply.

Without a clear picture of how the BDCP could impact our water supply from Folsom Lake – the current draft of the BDCP is unacceptable and sitting on very questionable footing.

The current draft of the BDCP’s Environmental Impact Statement/Environmental Impact report continues to project that Folsom Reservoir could go to “dead pool” approximately once every ten years as the BDCP is implemented.

In this "dead pool" scenario, significant urban populations in Sacramento, Placer and El Dorado counties – including Granite Bay and the cities of Folsom and Roseville – would be essentially cut off  from our primary water supply for several months. This would devastate the region’s economy and our way of life and would ultimately devastate the same environment -- the San Francisco- San Joaquin Bay Delta -- that the BDCP is looking to restore and improve. These economic and environmental impacts would not only harm the Sacramento Region, but would harm the entire state.

The BDCP acknowledges the possibility of Folsom Lake going dry, but the state is not proactively working towards solving this potential problem.  The State of California can’t acknowledge the “dead pool” scenario and simply turn its back, there is an obligation for the state to work with our region to proactively develop comprehensive statewide water supply solutions that prevent this devastating scenario from happening.

Based on the City of Roseville’s review of the current draft of the BDCP, it’s important that I point out the “fatal flaws” in the current draft of the document:

- The current draft of the BDCP is flawed because it is fundamentally inconsistent with existing water rights and contracts held by diverters from Folsom Reservoir (Cities of Roseville and Folsom; and the San Juan Water District). These longstanding water rights and contracts must be observed because they provide a level of certainty that is critical to our region’s economy.

- The current draft of the BDCP would seriously hurt the region’s lifestyle and livelihood. But, the document does not describe or analyze those socio-economic effects or their environmental consequences of the plan as required by state and federal law. Effectively, the BDCP, as currently drafted, does not meet the basic criteria outlined in these environmental laws that would allow the BDCP to be deemed complete.

- The BDCP’s funding plan is not clear or realistic and needs to be reevaluated.  In that reevaluation, it should be reiterated that cost for the BDCP, specifically the twin tunnel alternative, should only be placed on those that receive a benefit from that project and not widely allocated.

- The BDCP lacks an operational plan for the proposed twin tunnels, and the overall governance of the twin tunnels is unclear. Without clarity in the BDCP about the operation of the twin tunnels, the impacts to Folsom Reservoir remain unclear and our region continues to face the potential of “dead pool” with no clear solutions.

So, if you share the Roseville City Council’s concerns about the current draft of the BDCP and the uncertainty it casts over Roseville’s water supply, we need your voice, your neighbor’s voice and others in Roseville to pressure the state to provide a plan that is accurate, complete and gives Roseville and its regional partners something credible.

I’m asking concerned residents and businesses in Roseville to act now – go to before June 13, 2014 and send in your own comment letter to the state. We will ensure that those letters that are submitted on the website will be delivered to state leaders.