South Delta water attorney John Herrick was critical today of the process leading to recent emergency changes in Delta water operations.
In essence: Why did we wait until the drought was an emergency before taking action?
“We’ve had 12 or 13 months it hasn’t rained,” Herrick told the State Water Resources Control Board, which held a workshop to gather public comments on the changes, but only after those changes had already been made. “At what point did the Bureau (of Reclamation) and DWR (the Department of Water Resources) say, ‘We might be in trouble come Jan. 1?’…
“Why wasn’t this discussed last September?” Herrick asked. “Didn’t somebody think ahead and say, ‘You know, it didn’t rain 10 to 12 months, what if it doesn’t rain another three?’
The reason nothing happened in September, Herrick said, is because a more formal, non-emergency hearing with advance public notice would have been required to make the desired changes in operations.
“Everyone who testified here today would have been subject to cross-examination,” he said. “That’s the big difference.”