Sunday, April 20, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Waiting for an emergency is NOT a plan

By Ken Wagstaff

I just got my mail ballot for Measure I, the water supply question. I’ve listened carefully to friends on both sides. Through all the arguing, one has to focus on what is really known. We know the Water Advisory Committee heard from a variety of experts. We know its laborious and open process considered both supply and quality. We know the WAC unanimously endorsed the need to add surface water to Davis’ current system, which consists completely of wells.

Davis relies increasingly on only its five deepest wells out of the 20 in operation. These deep wells are each about half a mile or more in depth. We know the rest of the wells, at intermediate depths, have a variety of contaminant problems. They are undependable in the long run. And even deep wells can have problems: One had to be shut down because it was producing sand.

I was surprised, therefore, by the ballot statement from the Measure I opponents that “our groundwater levels recover every year, indicating the supply is adequate.” This statement cites no expert source, appears to lump all the wells together, and sidesteps the issue of risk over time. It is therefore an unsubstantiated and misleading statement.

On the other hand, in a recent edition of The Davis Enterprise, one of the WAC’s expert advisers, UCD hydrogeology professor Graham Fogg, said “the capacity of the deep aquifer to satisfy city water demand is unknown at this time because there is not yet enough information on the lateral extent of that aquifer and on how and at what rate it is recharged.”

Also, “concentrating more groundwater pumpage (pumping) in the deep aquifer will only accelerate the downward movement of contaminated groundwater toward the deep aquifer. In other words, just because the deep aquifer is deep does not mean it is invulnerable to contamination.”

The Enterprise asked, “How long can Davis survive with the current well water system?” Fogg replied, “Perhaps one to three decades.”

Our family has lived here for almost 50 years. Our Davis grandkids deserve to know that 10, 20 even 30 years from now, Davis will still have a sustainable supply of clean water. It will be expensive, but so will the existing mandate, even without Measure I, to improve waste treatment of the well water we now use.

It’s up to us to make the extra investment required to assure supply and protect our deep, ancient groundwater. As we anticipate the crazy climate and droughts we are likely to have in the future, our deep wells must not be overdrawn.

Among the opponents are some who agree we need river water but they say not now, and we should join with West Sacramento to get it, not Woodland. “No emergency exists,” says their ballot argument.

Is that a plan, to wait until we have a water emergency? And we should persuade a resistant West Sac to join with us, create a new agency and build a pipeline across the causeway when Woodland is a willing partner in whom we have already invested?

Again, the “no” argument gives the wrong impression: “Davis will pay 30 percent more per gallon than Woodland pays.” The actual math involves the system changes recommended by the WAC, plus our own pipeline from Woodland to Davis. Other opponents invent myths: The Davis/Woodland municipal system will be “privatized” because it will hire an operator. Some even suggest the mail election will be fixed. Yolo County Clerk/Recorder Freddie Oakley cannot be trusted?

Certainly, there are legitimate concerns about impacts on the ratepayers. We must keep working to address affordability. But that’s a separate process. The ballot issue is simply whether to build a better water system. We should. I will vote yes on Measure I.

— Ken Wagstaff is a former mayor of Davis.

Special to The Enterprise

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Davis Enterprise does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    Hub of activity: DHS newspaper keeps evolving

    By Zoe Juanitas | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    A springtime ritual

    By Wayne Tilcock | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Tom Adams seeks Davis school board seat

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A1

     
     
    Holy fire ceremony draws thousands in Jerusalem

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

    Tour renovated YCCC facility Thursday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Tour Davis Waldorf School on Wednesday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    The fifth annual Tour de Cluck is soon to be hatched

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3 | Gallery

     
    Ortiz lawn signs available

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Sign up soon for spring cooking classes

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Robb Davis team to rally on Saturday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Steadfast in their support

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A4, 8 Comments | Gallery

     
    Yolo Hospice offers free grief workshops

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Sign up for Camp Kesem caterpillar crawl

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Quilters gear up for annual show

    By Sebastian Onate | From Page: A4

    League hosts a series of candidate forums

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

     
    KDVS launches fund drive on Monday

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A5

    Calling all Scrabble fans

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5, 1 Comment | Gallery

     
    Hub webpage is seeing traffic increasing

    By Zoe Juanitas | From Page: A8

    Learn Chinese crafts at I-House

    By Sebastian Onate | From Page: A16

     
    Preschool open house set at Davis Waldorf

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A16

    Birch Lane celebrates its 50th anniversary

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A16

     
    Hotel/conference center info meeting set

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A16

    Lescroart welcomes all to book-launch party

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A16 | Gallery

     
    DEVO set to serve up 14th annual Winkler Dinner

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A16 | Gallery

    .

    Forum

    Take ownership of your health

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B5

     
    Not thrilled with lack of symmetry

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

    Reliving the agony and ecstasy of spring

    By Marion Franck | From Page: A7

     
    Keep your baby safe

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

     
    Road diet? No, city diet!

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A12, 5 Comments

    We’re reveling in our equality

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A12, 1 Comment

     
    Vote no; it’s fiscally responsible

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A12, 3 Comments

    Rick McKee cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A12

     
    Core values on campus

    By Our View | From Page: A12, 3 Comments

     
    Bill is an affront to UC Davis ag biotech and local farmers

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A13, 2 Comments

    Don’t want to sit in Fix 50 traffic? Consider alternatives

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A13, 1 Comment

     
    .

    Sports

    UCD softball shut out by Santa Barbara

    By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Aggie men shoot 9-under, lead own tourney

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Stars shine in Woody Wilson Classic

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B1, 1 Comment | Gallery

     
    Devils burn up the track

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

     
    UCD roundup: Aggie baseball swept away by Highlanders

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2

    A’s score 3 in ninth, rally past Astros 4-3

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

     
    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    .

    Business

    PG&E pays taxes, fees to county, cities

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9, 1 Comment

     
    Will Davis get an Old Soul?

    By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: A9

    Pediatricians, nurse practitioner hired at Woodland Healthcare

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9 | Gallery

     
    Asian stocks mostly higher after mixed U.S. earnings

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

    Yolo Federal Credit Union gets WISH funds

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

     
    Davis Roots will showcase its graduating startups

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A14

    University Honda wins another President’s Award

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A14 | Gallery

     
    Dutch Bros. raises $19,000 for girl with leukemia

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A14 | Gallery

    .

    Obituaries

    .

    Comics

    Comics: Sunday, April 20, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: B8