Tuesday, April 21, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

What I tell my neighbors about Measure I

By
From page A15 | January 27, 2013 |

By Alf W. Brandt

After decades of work on improving Davis drinking water quality, the Woodland-Davis water supply project — and Measure I — deserve your support. I join my colleagues in the water community — many living in Davis — in urging you to join with us to create a clean and sustainable water supply for our community and the generations who succeed us. For more than a decade, I and others in the water community have advocated improving Davis water quality by going to the Sacramento River.

My family and I moved to Davis in 1997 so I could take a job as a Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta water lawyer for the U.S. Department of the Interior. At that time, I knew nothing about Davis water quality. That changed quickly. First, our real estate agent touted that our house was already plumbed for a water softener, to fix the hardness in Davis water. Then, a few weeks later, local water officials chided me for moving to Davis, which had some of the worst quality water in the region. Some of these officials proudly diverted their water from the Sacramento River or the American River.

Several months later, I joined the Davis Natural Resources Commission, to see if I might help Davis address its water issues. During my NRC service, I learned that Davis had been working on improving its water quality for more than a decade. In reviewing the annual water quality report, we learned that the city’s intermediate aquifer wells had begun to encounter contaminants, such as nitrates, that exceeded drinking water standards. Some wells had to be shut down.

In 1992, the city had begun migrating deeper in the aquifer to address water quality problems. The deep aquifer enjoyed generally better water (at least less hardness), but it was not well understood. It appeared that water migrated underground from the agricultural areas to the northwest. The deep aquifer might be better protected. The deep aquifer had very old water — 6,000 to 8,000 years old — so it appeared to be contained, but the hydrology experts could not be sure. In any case, the deeper wells cost substantially more.

In addition, Yolo County Flood Control & Water Conservation District filed an application in 1994 to the State Water Resources Control Board to appropriate water from the Sacramento River on behalf of Davis, UC Davis and other entities in Yolo County.

In 2001, I developed — and the NRC adopted — a 10-year “Vision for Davis Water,” addressing both water supply and wastewater. It included ambitious goals such as a no-discharge wastewater program, selling our treated wastewater to local farmers. But the centerpiece of that vision was to go to the Sacramento River for our water supply, which would address water quality for drinking and the wastewater stream.

As a delta lawyer, I recognized the importance of reducing salinity discharges into the Yolo Bypass, which had become recognized as a critical part of restoring the health of the delta ecosystem. The state water board had begun ratcheting down its standards for salinity discharges, and the city was finding it more difficult to comply. The City Council did not adopt the entire vision, but proceeded with its program to obtain a Sacramento River water right and pursue acquisition of summer water.

For the next decade, the city proceeded toward the river for water, and I helped when I could. Our project had a changing set of partners. Woodland dropped out at one point. West Sacramento emerged as an alternative and then dropped out. UC Davis continued working with the city, but it had sufficient supplies for the near future — the deep aquifer for drinking water and Lake Berryessa for some of its agricultural water. (The city had not pursued clean water from Lake Berryessa water when the opportunity arose in the 1950s.)

Ten years later, I joined the Water Advisory Committee, so I could review the proposed water project. While I had long advocated going to the river, I had questions about the nature of this particular project — its size, the “design-build-operate” contract and the choice of partners. Working on the WAC, I concluded that the Davis-Woodland water supply project, as reconfigured, is the best option for a clean and sustainable water supply.

Drawing on good water from the Sacramento River and using the most advanced ozone-treatment technology, our water quality will be among the best in the region. Just as important, our wastewater will no longer dump salt into the Yolo Bypass and the delta.

Yes, our water will cost more, but at rates in line with what other urban communities across California now pay for their clean water. As California has grown, our water resources have not. Everyone, including agriculture, pays more for water today than when I started learning about California water policy 30 years ago.

This most precious public resource remains limited and we have had to pay for the effects California’s economic growth has imposed on our aquatic ecosystems, especially in the delta. The cost of water will continue to only increase. Building this project now will save us — and our children — the higher costs that inevitably will arrive. That’s why I talk to my neighbors about why we all should vote for Measure I.

For more information on the Yes on Measure I campaign, visit daviswater.org.

— Alf W. Brandt serves the California Assembly as an expert on water law and policy, as well as executive director of the Dividing the Waters Program at the National Judicial College. He is a Davis resident.

Comments

comments

Special to The Enterprise

  • Recent Posts

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

  • .

    News

    Aggie Pride on parade at UC Davis Picnic Day

    By Wayne Tilcock | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    City wants a study of sewer rates

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1

    Hard-of-hearing student needs community’s help

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    KDVS fund drive includes on-air pledging, plus parties and food

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
     
    Art helped sell California’s agriculture

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

     
    Sign up now for Celebrate Davis!

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4Comments are off for this post

    Students, families can get after-hours Internet access

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Lawyers seek resolution to Davis molest case

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A4

    Garamendi hosts conference for women

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

     
    ‘Invaluable public servant’ retires after 20 years

    By Tanya Perez | From Page: A5 | Gallery

    Your brain’s aging and a new report urges ways to stay sharp

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

     
    Injury-proof yourself for effective exercise

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

    Understanding risks can help women prevent leading health threats

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

     
    Eyewitness speaks about Israel’s election

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

    Free gardening advice offered

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

     
    Grad Night tickets on sale online

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

     
    Schenker speaks about ‘Magical Mexico’

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

    Yolo County DA honors crime victims at annual tribute

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

     
    Holman offers Publishing 101 seminar

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

    Radio-controlled airplanes will race April 25-26

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

     
    Woodland bike rides set every Saturday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

    Get some advice at Connections Café

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

     
    Join the 10,000-vegetable challenge!

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9Comments are off for this post

    NAMI group offers family support

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

     
    Birding tour will benefit Putah Creek Council

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10 | Gallery

    Watershed Wonders activities return to Putah Creek

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

     
    Yolo County Neighborhood Court seeks new volunteers

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

    UCD looks at building a better brain as we age

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

     
    ‘Vault’ highlights ‘Kathak’

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

    Two drought-preparedness water bills pass out of Senate committees

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11

     
    Picnic Day favorites: dogs, bikes science

    By Wayne Tilcock | From Page: A13 | Gallery

    Strike up the band, and the bubbles!

    By Wayne Tilcock | From Page: A14 | Gallery

     
    .

    Forum

    Ready for the parting glass

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
     
    John Cole cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: B6

    Yolo Crisis Nursery still needs help

    By Our View | From Page: B6

     
    Drink up, kids, but make your choice a healthy one

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B6

    Leash your dogs; it’s the law

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B6

     
    Speak out

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: B7

    Let’s not turn our backs on the Earth

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B7

     
    This Earth Day, make a pledge to cool your home

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B7

    .

    Sports

    Fast Aggie start negated by 14-0 USC lacrosse run

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Stagnant second-half offense sinks Devil girls

    By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Over the hump? DHS baseball team wins late

    By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Lambdin, Marshall lead Aggies at Mt. SAC

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    Republic FC gets another win at Bonney

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B2

     
    UCD roundup: Aggies sweep a water polo double dip

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

    Busy Clancy, Hall spark Devil tracksters at Mt. SAC

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

     
    Former DHS star Drexel returns to create havoc for Aggies

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B4 | Gallery

    Pro baseball roundup: Oakland blanks Kansas City

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B14

     
    Sports briefs: Blue Devils split a pair of tennis matches

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B14 | Gallery

    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    .

    Business

    New phase opens at Brookfield Cottages

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A12

     
    Tucos closes; new Japanese, pizza, subs debut

    By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: A12 | Gallery

    WISH grant funds available to eligible homebuyers

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A12

     
    Marrone Bio Innovations strengthens its sales team

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A12

    .

    Obituaries

    Alice Catherine Micheltorena

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Jody Zewe

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Herman Timm

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Ruth Rodenbeck Stumpf

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Robert Leigh Cordrey

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    .

    Comics

    Comics: Sunday, April 19, 2015

    By Creator | From Page: B8