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Candy Chand's picture
Joined: 08/15/2007
Posts: 304
Water and Developers

Please read the important 30 plus page letter (located at the end of the 111 page committee document) written by former CSD attorney, Richard Brandt. I appreciate his input tremendously; however, I'm deeply disappointed that such insight wasn't offered before 3 development projects were approved at the county--without cumulative water review.

 

Much of what is said in the letter, including the potential loss of water rights, drought nightmares, and not enough water for full buildout, is precisely what the RMDCCC, particularly Janis, argued repeatedly at Sac County.

 

At the time, CSD, along with developers, fought hard, pulling in the opposite direction, insisting such a study wasn't needed, because there was plenty of water for full buildout. Such insistence and testimony nixed the possibility of a cumulative river impact study as well as the consequential reduction of rooftops in a master plan update. (Whatever that rooftop number would turn out to be, according to the water study numbers)

 

Sadly, citizens, environmentalists and government regulators (who argued for a cumulative water study) were more or less told not to worry our pretty little heads about it, because we didn't have a clue.

 

And now this letter from the former CSD attorney.

 

I hope the newest members of the CSD board are paying close attention. If the CSD was once willing to ignore citizens, the Attorney General, US EPA and several environmental groups, perhaps they'll listen, now, to their own former attorney.

 

Candy Chand



 

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Lisa Taylor's picture
Joined: 01/09/2008
Posts: 365
wonder if the BOD will read it

A great question to ask each board member would be whether or not they have read this information, in its entirety.

 

Jerry Pasek's picture
Joined: 12/13/2007
Posts: 135
Reading papers

Jerry Pasek

Assuming that elected officials read everything available to them is asking a bunch unless of course a vote on such matters is under consideration. However, just look at what our elected Elites in Washington do. They get a 1000+ page LAW placed in front of them a few hours before they vote and they are expected to totally understand all the implications of such a law. This is routine under the current administration as understanding all the details may cause one to vote NO! What happened to the pre election promise of open dialog and discussion and visability of their intent  to the public at large? Can't possibly do that, as the public might get upset and toss them out.

Jerry Pasek

Candy Chand's picture
Joined: 08/15/2007
Posts: 304
Water and Developers

There are comments in the committee report that, from a standpoint of development, are historically inaccurate. But for lack of time, I won't address that material.

That said, the Brandt letter (the last 30 some odd pages) is amazing. It is both astonishing, and sad, that validation of so many of our concerns came after the development hearings, where citizens (especially Janis) were left hanging in the wind.

My favorite line in Brandt’s letter, and, perhaps, the most important:

"Presumably, if a drought goes on for more than one year, residents will have to truck in water or move out. For reasons I will later explain, I believe the actions taken since 1978 have done little to improve this situation."

Water. So basic to our survival. Who knew? Or cared to believe?

Candy Chand

 

 

Andy Keyes's picture
Joined: 08/22/2007
Posts: 289
Is the sky falling yet?

Cherry picking a worst case scenario is great for headlines but poor for making every day decisions.  I will bet the farm that you wont see residents having to resort to that kind of action in your lifetime.  Rogers letter is an interesting read as is the rest of the report but it isnt the last word as we move forward.  This community has done nearly nothing in terms of water conservation and after two years of "drought" the reservoirs are at capacity.  Water is basic to our survival but so is continued economic growth. 

Candy Chand's picture
Joined: 08/15/2007
Posts: 304
Got water?

 

Mr. Keyes, the letter from CSD's own former attorney, Mr. Brandt, along with multiple similar arguments made by citizens as well as scientists, and federal and state regulators, is regarding full build out--not the amount of water in the lakes now.

 

Below is another great quote from Mr. Brandt's letter regarding CSD's manipulation of the development/water study assumptions.

 

 

'What it does is to make a large unsolved water supply shortfall problem look like a

smaller unsolved problem and to allow developer/landowners to increase the number of

houses and/or development density that they can build without solving the water supply

shortfall in accordance with a water plan that provides that all landscaping will be killed

in the first year of the drought and the residents of the community will be compelled to

abandon their homes if the drought lasts more than thirteen months.

 

To conserve water is socially responsible. To plan for future drought is prudent.

To adopt a drought response plan that limits the available water supply to an amount that

requires all water use for landscaping to cease immediately when the drought begins and

leaves the community totally without water after 12-13 months is stupid. Does the

RMCSD Board stand behind such a plan? Why not a plan that says to developer/

landowners build fewer houses or bring us some water?"

 

Hopefully, citizens will pay close attention. This isn't just about property values, this is about a community that can be destroyed, if water is mismanaged to accomodate developers who don't want to studies that might reveal "real" numbers.

 

Candy Chand

 

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Andy Keyes's picture
Joined: 08/22/2007
Posts: 289
Scaring people for headlines again

Its the same argument as the "your going to get sued" paralysis that has gripped so many in this community.  The dependency of the argument is that all developers are dishonest.  Your tactics are well known as are the results.  Using the "scientists all agree"  is as tiresome as the myth of global warming.  Zero growth is not an option. 

John Kershaw's picture
Joined: 08/07/2007
Posts: 28
Chicken Little

Not to diminish the seriousness of the present and future water shortage issues facing RM, and the State for that matter, but this is a worst case scenario with a 5200 build out that Mr Brandt is basing his concerns on. My gut feeling, experience, and acknowledgement from a couple of developers is that the straw that broke the camels back is another 700 -1000 units on top of the approved Cassano/Kamilos tentative subdivision maps. Too many reasons to list but let's just use ecomomically unfeasable as one of them. Candy is absolutely right that the CSD cannot bury it's head in the sand but instead take the inititive to explore and seek out solutions that will alleviate our water needs along with the inevitable new requirements the State and County will incorporate into building standards. Mr. Brandt even states that this mountain is not insurmountable if certain measures (groundwater) are incorporated to suppliment our surface water. The ability to do this will be greatly enhanced once the Vineyard Water Surface Plant is operational in 2010 which will finally allow for proper conjunctive use and aquifer recharging. IMHO this will also mitigate the present lawsuit against Annatolia. I am a little confused why http://www.freeportproject.org/index.php was not include in Mr Brandt's report but I might have missed it.

John Kershaw

John Kershaw

Candy Chand's picture
Joined: 08/15/2007
Posts: 304
Shell Games

Please remember, the CSD water study was brought to us by some of the same folks who insisted there was no waste water problem--until the Cease and Desist Order hit.

 

Of course the calculations are considering 5,200 plus or minus rooftops. That's the cumulative number of potential rooftops under CEQA. That is also the number of rooftops that the master plan allows as a maximum cap (the same master plan, by the way, the Attorney General said was so outdated it was invalid under CEQA-- and the same master plan the developers did Not want updated to reduce potential rooftops).

 

And of course, almost nothing is insurmountable. And nobody is talking Zero growth.

 

What everyone from ECOS, the Attorney General, US EPA, citizens, water experts and, finally, the CSD's former attorney are saying is, do the calculations honestly, quit giving developers "math breaks,"  require proper mitigation and ultimately allow the (rooftop) chips to fall where they may. 

 

I'll share more, soon, in an upcoming column.  In the meantime, keeping a careful eye on a costly shell game is a wise idea.

 

Candy chand

Doug Lewis's picture
Joined: 08/08/2007
Posts: 165
balanced concern

  Mr Brandt's letter addressed concerns he has with water availability based on future development, as well as current water use practices.  I dont believe his intent was a dooms day scenerio.  He addresses conservation, reclaimed water use to off set ground water pumping etc.  I didnt see his letter as saying if anything is built we are all doomed.  He does want to make sure that CSD approaches any negociations properly, with knowledge of what infrastructure and pumping needs will be and hold developers accountable for those needs.

Mr Brandt seemed very humble in has analysis saying the following

"I am not a water lawyer or a land lawyer and have never provided advise to the RMCSD on thise subjects.  My knowledge and understanding of some of the things I say are secondary not direct or personal.  Much of what I have I have to say is recollective of events that occurred twenty or more years ago, my memories may be inaccurate or incomplete"

While we all need to remain vigilant on how development will impact RM in water issues as well other ways, at some point we are going to have to put some trust in CSD and the county to do it right.   

Mr Brandt also stated the following in his fair and balanced report.

"Ed Crouse as a director of the Sacramento Central Groundwater authority is undoubtedly more informed than me on the issue I think most important to me, on the issue I think most important to RM, access to groundwater in the event of severe drought or facility failure"

Doug Lewis

 

Doug Lewis

Candy Chand's picture
Joined: 08/15/2007
Posts: 304
Changes are coming

It's a small town, Mr. Lewis. My understanding is, due to the information coming out  at this time (which was brought up many times by others, and merely validates what's been said all along) developers will likely, now, receive stricter mitigations.

Amazing, isn't it, how a good dose of the truth, delivered to the PUBLIC, changes the direction of some players?

Candy Chand

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