Two different California water writers have offered what works by way of an answer to my question about the meaning of Westlands’ departure from the Bay Delta Conservation Plan discussions. Not so much a collapse, as a perfectly reasonable shrinkage?
The first voice is Patricia McBroom, who does a writerly job of taking us in person to the north delta to better understand what’s going on:
The work of state water officials and contractors was thrown into a blender Monday when the powerful Westlands Water District withdrew from their joint plans to build a giant tunnel/pipeline for diverting water around the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Loss of Westlands money and participation may mean a slower, more thoughtful process for building a new water diversion system – which is a good thing. Good for the fish, good for the ecosystem, good for Delta agriculture and good for the 23 million of us who drink from this heart of water.
Add some snark and “a whole cartload of schadenfreude” and On The Public Record seems to be making a very similar point:
I think it is perfectly appropriate for Westlands to withdraw from BDCP. They shouldn’t pay for a Peripheral Canal that can’t reliably deliver water to them. Without the west side arguing for a large Peripheral Canal (for ag deliveries), the conversation about a small Peripheral Canal (to assure that L.A.’s water supply isn’t dependent on Delta levees) can go forward. We’re watching the future happen, in jerky steps like this. I hope the politicians don’t yield to Westland’s temper tantrum on this. It’ll only drag the process out.
OTPR is right; Patricia is right, except for “slow.” It will go faster w/o WWD.
While my near-future affiliation (Santa Clara Valley Water District) has what I perceive to be a functional working relationship with WWD, my long-past affiliation (Natural Resources Defense Council) and casual observation found Westlands to be pretty hard line. Having them sit out for a while might be okay, especially if progress without them encourages them to come back in a compromising mood.