‘Shared responsibility’

If you haven’t seen it, Jerry Meral’s July 23 presentation to the Water Association of Kern County is worth watching.

Meral sounds optimistic, as he pitches the Delta twin tunnels to the very folks who will have to agree to fund them, if they are ever to be built.

A couple of highlights:

• Growers are worried that even with the tunnels in place, water deliveries may fall toward the lower end of an expected range, perhaps shy of 5 million acre-feet per year.

But there may be a way to deal with that, Meral said.

He called it “shared responsibility” — an effort funded by both water exporters and also the state and federal government to acquire water upstream of the Delta, water that could then be used to allow for a greater level of exports.

“We’ve seen a willingness in talking to the various water agencies that are upstream to sell some water,” Meral said. “I don’t want to say how much. I don’t think we know how much. But enough to make a substantial difference in the amount we could export, perhaps get the level of export up to where it needs to be to make this project financially attractive.”

• The vocal opposition. Meral acknowledged the concerns of the Delta counties, and their representatives in Sacramento and Washington, D.C. “They’re reflecting their constituents’ views. It’s legitimate,” he said.

“But we need a counterbalance. I always encourage those of you who are active talking to your elected officials… to let them know their support is important, too. From the governor’s point of view, he hears more, frankly, from the opposition than he does from the supporters in the elected official realm. We welcome that support and we need to have more of that if we can.”

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