Modesto Bee Letter: Water proposal could cost millions

John Michelena was right to sound the alarm about overregulation of farmers by the State Water Resources Control Board “Environmentalist camel’s nose is under farmers’ tent,” (Feb. 21, Opinions).

A recent proposal by the State Water Resources Control Board to release 35 percent of unimpaired flow on the Stanislaus, Tuolumne and Merced rivers is a more significant cause for alarm. The State Water Board’s own substitute environmental document concedes the result would be “significant and unavoidable” impacts for San Joaquin, Merced and Stanislaus counties. These impacts include fallowing of as many as 210,000 acres of farmland, a loss of $187 million in agricultural income, and the elimination of more than 1,200 jobs in dry years, when water is most needed for irrigation.

Perhaps most troubling, the board is willing to sacrifice our region’s agricultural livelihood without providing any evidence showing how this action will benefit the native fishery. This proposal is real. The state water board will have hearings March 20-23. Please act now to stop the state water board.

The board is taking comments until March 29. Go to http://calsmartwater.org to get more information and sign a resolution to stop the state water board.

ALLEN SHORT

Modesto