Published: October 17, 2009
It is no accident that a key player in the water talks is State Senator Joe Simitian,. a Democrat from Palo Alto. He represents the Silicon Valley, where the pharmaceutical and computer chip industries depend on a reliable supply of clean water for their research, development and manufacturing. They are working feverishly to guard the valley’s supply.
“Historically, people have characterized this as a north-south issue,” Mr. Simitian said last week in an interview. “But the fact of the matter is a significant portion of the water for the district I represent comes right out of the Delta.”
A key issue in this fight is whether Bay Area residents from San Francisco to Fremont should give up some water to preserve the Delta’s ecosystem. Randy Kanouse, a Sacramento lobbyist who represents East Bay MUD, says that if that happens, more water rationing will surely follow.
“When you make conservation a permanent way of life and all of your customers take the waste out of their household and business use,” Mr. Kanouse said, “there’s no more excess water they can give up. Consumers will have to let their lawns die, their landscapes die, and business customers will have to cut production. If the Mokelumne River has to have more water kept in the river to flow into the Delta, it’s a virtual certainty that rationing will be more frequent and deeper than it is today.”