Water advisory committee didn’t do enough

June 3, 2014 

The Stanislaus County Water Advisory Committee completed its Action Plan regarding groundwater supplies. Considering the irreversible consequences of overdrafting, it is irresponsible that members didn’t create a plan that embraces sustainability.

Current trends in water usage are not sustainable, but members are more interested in appeasing farm interests by voluntary participation and confidentiality of monitoring. There is a conflict of interest when committee members’ own business interests are affecting their decisions.

They should have accepted the urgency of diminishing groundwater levels by requiring 100 percent participation and a thorough well-permitting process, and stipulate that farmers will need to be openly monitored.

Homeowners might question conserving when dozens of industrial-sized wells are appearing in regions with unmeasured capacities, limited only by their pumping abilities (tens of thousands of gallons per minute). Sixty-three well permits have been issued for 2014 thus far.

The committee kicked the can down the road, settling for incomplete monitoring and some kind of enforcement four or five years from now, possibly too late. They chose maintenance of the status quo instead of developing a long-term sustainability plan for everyone. If our leaders are afraid to make the ethical choices, we have the wrong leaders. Do we wait until it’s too late?

Barbara Swier, Hughson

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