I claim no direct journalistic expertise in the California Bay-Delta water policy discussions currently underway. But in looking at it with my “institutional framework” hammer in hand (everything looks like a nail to me), it sure looks like a process doomed to failure. Take Mark Grossi’s latest in the Fresno Bee on Westlands’ decision to pull out of talks over the Bay Delta Conservation Plan. First Westland:
The draft of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan offers hope of restoring slumping water deliveries to west Valley farmers, Westlands officials said this week. But the Department of Interior advocates more limits on deliveries, they said.
Meanwhile the folks across the table seem to think the current planning parameters offer to much water to farmers, not too little:
Environmentalists and fishing groups are involved, too. Last week they criticized the draft conservation plan as a water grab for water users such as Westlands and Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.
This seems to have one of the necessary preconditions for effectively addressing a conflict over a common-pool resource – a process in which all the players with skin in the game engage in a serious discussion with the potential to be linked to real outcomes. That process sure looks from the outside like it’s collapsing.
But I have no idea whether the problem is as intractable as it sounds. Comments, California water tweeps?
update: From the Twitter
Tim Rote: “Westlands WD like North Korea. Create crisis in order to extort concessions.”