Earth Day water wars topic stirs debate at Sierra College forum
Earth Week at
Earth Day-related events scheduled and open to the public. Parking is $3
Today and Thursday: Earth Day Festival. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the campus center. Bands, speakers, climbing wall (Thursday only), plant sale (today only), organizational and club booths, nature walks.
Thursday: 7 p.m. Dietrich Theater. Wild and Scenic Film Festival (tickets available online).
Friday: 7 p.m. Dietrich Theater. Lee Stetson as John Muir in “Conversation with a Tramp.”
ROCKLIN – Water was the Earth Day topic at a
At the heart of a “Water Wars, Warriors and Climate Change” discussion that drew an estimated 200 people to the Dietrich Theatre was the simmering feud over a draft Bay Delta Conservation Plan.
Area-of-origin water providers like the Placer County Water Agency are in the thick of a high-profile feud over potential ramifications to upstream water supplies.
Einar Maisch, Placer Water strategic affairs director, walked the audience through a plan by the California Department of Water Resources that he said would endanger future water supplies in Northern California, including
“It’s a major project funded by exporters,” Maisch said. “They spent a quarter billion dollars and got to decide on the project. It’s about protecting assets from rising sea levels.”
Onboard, to explain the plan from the state of
Helliker concentrated on benefits from the conservation plan, including 100,000 acres of habitat restoration that had been lost over the past 150 years.
Projections are that climate change will result in an 18-inch rise in sea levels on the edge of the Delta by 2060, he said.
“It’s an issue for all of us to protect the delta,” Helliker said.
Balancing less inflow into reservoirs in the future because of climate change with the need for greater outflow to handle higher sea levels will be a major goal of the project, estimated to cost $24.7 billion.
That will mean water customers will be asked to cut back when necessary, he said.
“But we’re not going to let reservoirs drop down to unusable levels,” Helliker said.
The forum was part of a series of Earth Day activities extending past Tuesday on the
“It’s not a new issue,” Gilbert said. “Mark Twain said that whisky is for drinkin’ and water is for fighting.