March 2013 Election/Measure I

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[WWW]Yes on I
[WWW]No on I

  1. Ballot Language
  2. The Project
  3. Support and Opposition
    1. Endorsements
      1. Supporters of YES on Measure I
      2. Supporters of NO on Measure I
  4. The Campaign
  5. Commentary
    1. Import "clean" river water to Davis?
    2. Measure I and the continuation of growth in Davis
    3. Measure I and the Environment (from the local chapter of the Society for Conservation Biology)
    4. A response to the Society for Conservation Biology
    5. Response to response to Society for Conservation Biology
    6. Argument in favor of the Woodland-Davis water project
    7. Why I will probably vote "yes": CA-DWR says Davis's groundwater levels show "localized pumping depressions"

Measure I appeared on the mail-only March 2013 Election ballot. It passed with 54.1% of voters voting "yes".

Ballots were accepted by mail or could be dropped off at the Yolo County Library in Davis or at the at the Yolo County Elections Office. See the Mail-Only Elections page for more information on how to vote.

Ballot Language

Measure I poses Davis residents with the opportunity to approve or halt a regional surface water supply project.

Specifically, the ballot asks "Shall Ordinance No. 2399 - be adopted, which grants permission to the City of Davis to proceed with the Davis Woodland Water Supply Project, to provide surface water as an additional supply of water, subject to the adoption of water rates in accordance with the California Constitution (Proposition 218)?"

The Project

Voters will be asked to vote on the project as proposed by the Woodland-Davis Clean Water Agency and the City of Davis Water Advisory Committee, which further refined the project reducing cost. The joint project will allow the City of Davis to pull surface water from the Sacramento River to supply our community with water.

Impartial analysis by the City of Davis estimates the cost of the project to be less than $120 million dollars.

More information can be found on project details at [WWW]http://www.wdcwa.com/the_project

Support and Opposition

The Davis City Council unanimously supports the passage of Measure I; Mayor Joe Krovoza, Mayor Pro Tem Dan Wolk, and Councilmembers Rochelle Swanson, Lucas Frerichs, and Brett Lee wrote the ballot arguments in favor of the measure.

Former Mayor Sue Greenwald, Mark Siegler, Michael Bartolic, Former Councilmember Michael Harrington, and Pam Nieberg oppose the passage of Measure I; they wrote the ballot arguments against the measure.

The UC Davis chapter of the Society for Conservation Biology supports Measure I since it would mean cleaner wastewater discharge into sensitive environmental areas.

Endorsements

Supporters of YES on Measure I

Elected and Former Elected Officials

John Garamendi, US Congressman
Lois Wolk, California State Senator
Mariko Yamada, California State Assemblymember
Joe Krovoza, Mayor, City of Davis
Dan Wolk, Mayor Pro Tem, City of Davis
Rochelle Swanson, Davis City Councilmember
Lucas Frerichs, Davis City Councilmember
Brett Lee, Davis City Councilmember
Jim Provenza, Yolo County Supervisor
Don Saylor, Yolo County Supervisor, Former Davis Mayor
Mike McGowan, Yolo County Supervisor
Matt Rexroad, Yolo County Supervisor
Duane Chamberlain, Yolo County Supervisor
Cass Sylvia, Yolo County Public Guardian
Betsy Marchand, Former Yolo County Supervisor
Helen Thomson, Former California State Assemblymemberm, Former Yolo County Supervisor, Water Advisory Committee
Jerry Adler, Former Davis Mayor, Water Advisory Committee
Ruth Asmundson, Former Davis Mayor
Susie Boyd, Former Davis Mayor
Mike Corbett, Former Davis Mayor
Maynard Skinner, Former Davis Mayor
Stephen Souza, Former Davis City Councilmember
Susan Lovenburg, Davis School Board
Sheila Allen, Davis School Board
Gina Daleiden, Davis School Board
Tim Taylor, Davis School Board
Nancy Peterson, Davis School Board
Janice Bridge, Former Davis School Board Member
Richard Harris, Former Davis School Board Member

City of Davis Commissioners

Elaine Roberts-Musser, Chair, Water Advisory Committee, Senior Citizens Commission
Alf Brandt, Water Advisory Committee
Petrea Marchand, Water Advisory Committee
Jane Rundquist, Water Advisory Committee
Jim West, Water Advisory Committee
Matt Williams, Water Advisory Committee
Steve Boschken, Business & Economic Development Commission, Water Advisory Committee
Brian Horsfield, Business & Economic Development Commission
Jag Nagendra, Business & Economic Development Commission
Gene Wilson, Chair, Natural Resources Commission
Ben Bourne, Natural Resources Commission
Dean Newberry, Davis Natural Resources Commission
Alan Pryor, Davis Natural Resources Commission
Margot Loschke, Senior Citizens Commission
Janet Regnell, Senior Citizens Commission
Tansey Thomas, Senior Citizens Commission
Jenna Templeton, Social Services Commission

Business Groups and Leaders

Davis Chamber of Commerce
Gregg Herrington, Chair
Rose Cholewinski, Former Chair
Cary Arnold, Former Chair
Steve Greenfield, Former Chair
Kemble Pope, Executive Director

Environmental Groups and Leaders

Tuleyome
Bob Schneider, Senior Policy Director
Andrew Fulks, President

Yolo Audubon Society
Chad Roberts, Conservation Chair

Yolo Clean Air

UCD Society for Conservation Biology

Supporters of NO on Measure I

Former Mayor Sue Greenwald
Former Councilmember Michael Harrington
Mark Siegler
Michael Bartolic
Pam Nieberg

The Campaign

Both supporters and opposition have been actively campaigning for the last year in Davis. Both groups can now be found at the Davis Farmer's Market on Saturdays.

Commentary

Import "clean" river water to Davis?


     Some have said that our city needs to import water from the Sacramento River to
supplement our own well water. But the quality of the river water raises questions about
that suggestion. Biological and chemical contaminants can occur at high levels in the
Sacramento River. It drains 27,000 square miles of land, and the by-products from the
cities and industries on all of that land wash down-hill and concentrate in the river.
     The river carries municipal sewage out-flows, and run-off from agricultural sites.
As a state, California is the biggest user of agricultural chemicals in the U. S. Used
organophosphorous and carbamate pesticides (2,3) enter the river in irrigation drainage
from farming operations. Fertilizers wash into the river and stimulate algal blooms that
increase the suspended organic carbon compounds and disflavor the water.
     Run-off from urban sites contains chlorinated and polycyclic aromatic
hydrocarbons (1) from oil products in the soil or on pavement, and from municipal and
industrial waste water. Gasoline and its additives enter the river from water-craft fuel.
Air pollution dissolves into the waterway. The river is also subject to accidental toxic
releases of all sizes, up to the railway spill of ~20,000 gallons of concentrated methyl-
dithio-carbamate fungicide into the water in Dunsmuir in 1991.
     A report (4) on the river water for the proposed Davis water import program
discussed many of these pollutants. One of them is the herbicide thiobencarb (p.2 of the
report) which is a toxic thiocarbamate. It is used extensively up-stream on rice acreage,
after which it drains into the river and flows past the proposed take-out site. Thiobencarb
has already been an issue for other water treatment facilities using river water.
     Counts of coliform bacteria in the ten thousands per liter (p. 14; fecal coliform at
one tenth that) were described in the report, serving as a measure of the impact of sewage
out-flows on river water quality. Another category of municipal waste-water out-flow
pollutants documented in the report was pharmaceuticals (contraceptives, Tylenol) and
other personal care products (p.23).
     This water would require disinfectant application to deal with the bacteria and
viruses it carries. But the disinfection process creates its own problems, in the form of
byproducts. Chlorine disinfection produces, among others, chloroform as a byproduct
(p.52) while the more expensive ozone disinfection produces bromoform. Both of these
are regulated as carcinogens. These disinfectant treatments are less effective (or more
expensive still) when the suspended organic carbon compound concentrations are high, as
they are in the Sacramento River.
     These findings bring into question the suggestion that the Sacramento River
provides a cleaner alternative to well water. Surface water chemical and biological
pollutants are not found at those levels in the well water Davis now uses (5).


(1) Kim & Young (2009) Significance of indirect deposition on wintertime polycyclic
aromatic hydrobon contamination in an urban northern California creek. Environmental
Engineering Science 26,269-277

(2) Hilton, D. E. Multiple Stressors in the Sacramento River Watershed in Fish
Ecotoxicology. Braunbeck et al, eds. (1998) Berchauser Verlag, Basel.

(3) Werner et al (2009) Insecticide caused toxicity to Ceriodaphnia dubia (Cladocera)
in the Sacramento –San Joaquin River delta, California, USA. Environmental Toxicology
and Chemistry 19,215-227

(4) Yost & Associates (2011) Sacramento River Water Quality Assessment for the
Davis-Woodland Water Supply Project.

(5) City of Davis (2011) Consumer confidence report.

~ Steve Daubert

And here [WWW]http://davismerchants.org/water/SacRiverwaterupdate.pdf is a current report which addresses those issues. It's a 228 page pdf document. The surface water is just as safe and clean as the ground water you are presently drinking. — DonShor

From the above mentioned report posted by DonShor: "Overall, the Sacramento River provides good quality raw water. The raw water can be treated to meet all drinking water standards using conventional water treatment processes. No persistently present constituents that require special treatment processes have been identified in the river." — WillArnold


Measure I and the continuation of growth in Davis

     The city of Davis has been growing unsustainably. In the nineteen sixties, the city had a
population of 16,000 souls. Since then, it has been growing by 50% every ten years – one of the
fastest growth rates in the state. The population passed 54,000 in the 1990s, and would have
continued on that pace, had not the voters slowed the expansion of the city with the passage of
Measure J in 2000.
     The aquifer of ground water below us is still sufficient to support the city as it now
stands. We would only exceed our resource base if we choose to resume the rapid growth rate of
the last century. State law SB 610 (adopted in 2003)) now integrates land use and water
planning, and precludes us from embarking on such unsustainable growth. However, the
construction of a three hundred million plus dollar water purification plant (or more, depending
on the financing and on cost-over-runs) to the northwest of town could open the way again for
city expansion.
     This further expansion will not be self-sustaining, but will be subsidized, by the utility
rate payers of the city. Davis household water bills will be increasing a thousand dollars each,
per year, or more, in order to subsidize this renewed city growth.
A map drawn for the city (1) outlines this resumption of the expansion of Davis. Green
boundaries on that map extend the current city outlines off to the east, northeast, and northwest.
     They mark the new acreage where the river water would allow further development. (The same
map shows that Woodland will have the potential to double, using the river water source.)
The cost of this water can be predicted to rise. The treatment plant will use extensive
amounts of energy to generate ozone for on-site disinfection of the water, to pull the water from
the river, and to move it miles over-land. The cost of that energy is going to rise. The pollution
in the river that the proposed purification plant would be dealing with will rise, driving treatment
costs up with the increase in the industries and the numbers of people living on the watershed
that drains into the riverbed. If EPA-regulated toxins in the water rise past mandated levels, new
and more costly purification procedures will have to be implemented at the expense of the city –
an expense to be passed down to the utility rate-payers. If future competition for water curtails
diversions from the Sacramento River, a Davis grown to depend on imported water would face
shortages.
     A very small segment of the population here will profit handsomely from the
development the water pipe would allow. Most of us will suffer a net loss, through increases in
our fees and taxes. More agricultural land, e.g, north out to Rd 29 and beyond, will be converted
to housing tracts. The voters of Davis will decide if they want to follow our leaders’ non-
sustainable directions. But those voters may do the math and see that, in order to have softer
water from the tap, it would be much cheaper to buy bottled than to pay an extra thousand dollars
a year or more in utility fees.

(1) City of Woodland, City of Davis. Map to accompany water right application No. 30358
points of diversion, transmission pipelines and places of use. West Yost Associates. March 2011

- Steve Daubert

WaterUsageMap.jpgClick to enlarge

The river water from the proposed take-out could be legally sold anywhere in the green areas. Those areas (not counting UCD acreage) add 50% more area to the built-up land Davis now covers.


Measure I and the Environment (from the local chapter of the Society for Conservation Biology)

The UC Davis Chapter of the Society for Conservation Biology has researched the environmental and conservation implications of Measure I and would like to encourage the public to vote YES.

City of Davis wastewater is discharged into Willow Slough and the Yolo Bypass, which support both agriculture and wildlife. Current groundwater supplies contain high levels of salts and heavy metals, including boron, selenium, and hexavalent chromium 1. These levels are increasing and will soon fail water-quality standards. These metals, while naturally occurring, cause serious harm to fish, invertebrates, and the birds and mammals that prey on them 2-45,6. Deformities in birds and marine mammals of the Bay-Delta area have already been linked to chemicals in wastewater discharge. Given the importance of the Yolo bypass as water-bird habitat7 it is unconscionable to discharge toxic wastewater into the system, as will inevitably occur without the surface-water project.

The planned surface water project will divert and treat water from the Sacramento River, making it cleaner and safer for both human consumption and the ecosystem to which it is returned. The intake is expected to have minimal impacts on the hydrologic conditions of the River and the Delta, as the diversion will only be 46,100 acre-feet per year. This is a very small quantity when compared to the average Sacramento River flows of ~22,000,000 acre feet 8. In addition, diversions will be adjusted when necessary to avoid conflict with other water management objectives, including previous water contracts and mandated flows for listed species habitat 1. However, we should be aware that while small, the cumulative effects of many small diversions can have a larger impact; during the years from 1968 – 2005 approximately 26% of the annual flows were diverted from the Sacramento River for consumptive use 9. Therefore, the project should not be taken on its own, but as part of a package with water conservation at its core.

The most significant ecological effects of the project will occur during the construction process – building a raised pipeline, water treatment plants, and intake structure. To reduce these impacts, construction will occur during low flow periods when sensitive fish are less likely to be in the area. During construction, erosion, sediment, and chemicals from the site will be contained or otherwise separated from aquatic habitats and a fish rescue plan will be in place/executed for any fish stranded during construction1.

All alternatives to the plan, including continuing to use groundwater, could involve significantly higher monetary and environmental costs. Also, the project will provide a long-term reduction in both environmental toxins and green-house gas emissions 1. However, the plan should be undertaken along with major water conservation measures, including better irrigation management, more water-efficient appliances, and a campaign to raise awareness of individual life-style changes to improve water efficiency.

1 Davis-Woodland Water Supply Project Final Environmental Impact Report (Public Works Department, Davis, CA, 2007).
2 Letey, J., et al. Irrigation and Drainage System s 16, 253-259 (2002).
3 Mishra, A. K. & Mohanty, B. Science of The Total Environment 407, 5031-5038 (2009).
4 Soucek, D. J., et al Evironmental Toxicology and Chemistry 30, 1906-1914 (2011).
5 Ackerman, J. T. & Eagles-Smith, C. A. Evironmental Toxicology and Chemistry 28, 2134-2141 (2009).
6 Ohlendorf, H. M. in Wildlife Ecotoxicology: Forensic Approaches Emerging Topics in Ecotoxicology (ed J.E. Elliott et al.) Ch. 11, 325-357 (2011).
7 Gilmer, D. S et al. in Transactions of the fourty-seventh North American WIldlife and Natural Resources Conference Vol. Washington, DC (Washington, DC, 1982).
8 Hanak, E. et al. Managing California's Water: from conflict to reconciliation. Public Policy Institute of California. San Francisco, CA. [WWW]http://www.ppic.org/main/publication.asp?i=944 (2011).
9 Farber, A. Facts and information in California's water and environmental debates. Delta Stewardship Council www.deltacouncil.ca.gov.

Conservation implications of measure I.pdf

- Rosemary Hartman, Society for Conservation Biology Policy Committee Chair


A response to the Society for Conservation Biology

A representative for the society for conservation biology has said
that the levels of salts in Davis ground water are cause for concern
(Wiki, Jan 28). Mentioned are selenium, hexavalent chromium, and
boron. The City of Davis water quality report shows that selenium is
present in Davis water at 7 parts per billion; hex chromium is at 12
parts per billion; boron is at less than one part per million (800
ppb). These concentrations are far below flag levels. Comparison among
the yearly water quality reports shows that the levels are steady,
not, as the representative states, rising.

The society representative claims that levels of these salts are
hazardous to wildlife in the bay and delta. However, she fails to
mention that the pollution sources of concern to the bay/delta are not
from Davis, but are from the contaminated aquifers and waste waters in
the San Joaquin valley (e.g, the Kesterson Reservoir) which also drain
into the bay.

The society representative goes on to make a few good points. A
quarter of the Sacramento River flow is already diverted for
consumptive use, and that proportion is rising. The proposed 300 plus
million dollar construction project for the diversion of surface water
to Davis will have a significant environmental foot-print. Water
conservation measures should be considered, in light of the demands.

The society for conservation biology follows environmental and
conservation concerns. The largest of those concerns in our area is
the rapid growth of urban acreage, resulting in loss of wildlife habit
and agricultural land. The Davis/Woodland water project will encourage
such urban expansion. This is an outcome that one might have thought
the society of conservation biology would have considered.
~ Daubert

Our present levels of selenium would violate state water standards very soon if we did not go to the deeper wells, as we are doing. The selenium in our shallower wells already violates the state standards, but the discharge permit allows that because there is a long-term mitigation plan in place. With our new deep wells we are pumping the maximum allowable water from that deeper aquifer. So as we retire the shallower, high-selenium wells, the city's water capacity will diminish. This leads to a likely inability to meet peak capacity for water by about 2017, leading to brown-outs.
Selenium is just the most pressing issue. Boron, chromium, arsenic, and other constituents are likely to be subject to increasingly tight standards from state and federal government. Boron in the deep water is as high or higher than in the intermediate aquifers. Arsenic is higher.
It is the quality of the well water, and the overuse of the deep aquifer and its potential interference with UC Davis (which has higher priority for that water), that is driving the move to surface water. Growth of the city is completely controlled by the voters via Measure J/R. The voters have to approve any peripheral housing development. So the argument that the water project will encourage urban expansion is a red herring, albeit a popular one with opponents. If the voters don't want housing, they won't vote for it, as they've demonstrated more than once already.
Urban wastewater is, in fact, a concern with the Delta pollution. Phasing out high-salt urban water waste is part of the Delta plan. The contaminant of greatest concern is selenium; hence the regulatory actions on that one. But it isn't the only one. —DonShor


Argument in favor of the Woodland-Davis water project

One of my concerns is that making this decision requires some understanding of: • water quality issues: what’s in the water? Regulatory issues are driving this decision.
• aquifer levels and historic pumping practices: where has our water come from, where will it come from, what are the options?
• long-term water supply concerns involving growth and development in Davis and on campus.
• financing and ownership tradeoffs and options.

Most of our water, until recently, came from shallower wells (intermediate aquifer). That water is high in selenium, high salinity, and high in boron. Those are among several things in water that are regulated by the state.

Due to tighter water quality standards, which we have been aware of for many years, our water will soon violate state regulations when it goes out in our waste stream. The first issue is selenium; as of 2017 the shallower wells will cause Davis water to exceed state standards.

Many of the shallow wells are very old and need to be replaced. Over-pumping from the intermediate aquifer has caused subsidence of the land in parts of Yolo County. So pumping from the intermediate aquifer needs to stop, to the greatest extent possible.

The City has drilled six deeper wells into a deep aquifer that lies primarily under UC Davis. That water is low enough in selenium to help us meet the state standards, unless they tighten them even more. But that water is just as high in boron (higher than some of the current wells) and is also high in salinity and higher in arsenic. And it contains chromium 6, another constituent of concern. State regulations will very likely restrict arsenic, chromium 6, boron, and salinity in coming years.

More important, the deep aquifer is of unknown, but limited, extent; recharges very slowly; and is at risk of contamination from above if more wells are drilled. UC Davis has prior, higher rights to that water than does the City of Davis. Water experts do not believe the deep aquifer should be used as a long-term source of water for the city.

City of Davis wells conflict with UCD wells in the deep aquifer. So the 2004 EIR that was drawn up when the city wanted to replace some shallower wells with deeper wells, limits the amount the city can pump. The six deep aquifer wells fully use up that amount. We can’t pump any more from the deep aquifer, so our capacity will gradually drop as the shallower wells go. The process of trying to pump more deep water would open up a long and expensive arbitration process that the city would probably lose. And again: experts don’t see the deep wells as a long-term solution.

The present combination of shallower and deep wells gives us some time on the water quality issues, and barely provides the capacity the city needs. How much time? Peak capacity – the amount the city needs at peak usage time – will ‘run out’ in about 2017. That is because some wells will need to be retired, and any growth in town or on campus will add to the problem. When peak usage exceeds capacity, you get brownouts (water shortages at certain times of day). Repeat: starting in 2017 we won’t have enough water for peak capacity. This presents a public safety issue as well as an inconvenience.

So you need enough water at all times for peak capacity. But the longer we use the deep wells, the greater the risk of harming that aquifer; between UCD’s increased pumping and the city’s, use of that aquifer has increased something like five-fold. In addition, the amount we are using this small number of wells puts a burden on them as they run nearly at full capacity constantly. Loss of a single well due to equipment failure would substantially cut available water for the duration of repair.

Woodland faces a more immediate regulatory/water quality issue. Their restrictions come down in 2016. So they are more urgent about finding a new water source. The penalties for failing to meet water regulations are substantial fines which increase steadily. The fines are intended to force compliance, and a process of cease-and-desist orders can be imposed. So when you hear that our decision is being driven by Woodland’s schedule, there is truth to that: if we want to save money by partnering with Woodland, we need to start this project on their schedule. It’s cheaper for the two cities to build together than for each to go it alone.

Bottom line: we need to supplement our groundwater supply with another source. That source needs to be clean, reliable, and relatively unencumbered. The purchase of primary riparian rights for Sacramento River water was a major coup for Davis. It guarantees a certain amount of water every year. Then the secondary rights that were purchased augment that and provide clean river water most summers. In the event of shortage, we will use a higher proportion of the well water, mixing the sources to still meet state standards.

Every water district in California should be prepared for a multi-year drought. Every water district should be planning 30 – 50 years out on water supplies, anticipating the likely local housing growth (even in a slow-growth community). We’ve reached the end of the line on well water locally, both on quality and quantity.

It’s going to cost a lot. But so will doing nothing. Replacing existing wells and doing system upgrades will cause water bills to roughly double over the next few years. Bringing in surface water, by comparison, will cause water bills to roughly triple. That’s a big difference, but how it’s financed determines who and how it will hurt.

To reduce costs, the system was downsized to save money, which means more well water will be used. The purpose of that compromise was to reduce the cost; the down side is it reduces the water quality. However, most people will find the water sufficiently soft that they could get rid of their softeners, drink tap water instead of bottled water, and their appliances and fixtures will last longer. Nobody has tallied the costs that Davis residents already expend to mitigate our water, but you can consider its impact on your own household. One source said more than half of Davis homes and businesses use softeners. Average cost of rock salt alone (a big part of the effluent problem) is $10/month or more. Appliances depreciate faster than average.

Initially the rate increase was somewhat front-loaded. The council recently decided to ‘flatten’ the rate increase by financing it further. That means ratepayers will pay less in the next few years, but more in the long run.

The main alternative explored by the Water Advisory Commission was to purchase water from West Sacramento. West Sac has surplus capacity at this time. Davis would pay for a water pipeline and treatment. At first West Sac was not willing to agree to a permanent relationship. Then they accepted that requirement, but at a much higher cost than the city council was willing to pay. At no time was a partnership with West Sac under consideration. The long term cost of the West Sac option was not lower. Davis would be subordinate to a city that has a history of aggressive growth; West Sac has increased population faster than any nearby city.

The partnership with Woodland makes sense for several reasons. Our regulatory situations are similar, our options are roughly the same. The relationship is a partnership, with equal say in management of the joint powers agency (even though Davis will be using less capacity).

The consequences of rejecting this proposal need to be fully considered by every voter.
• Continued poor water quality.
• Near-term peak capacity water shortages.
• Continued degradation of the intermediate aquifer, or overuse and risk to the deep aquifer.
• A missed opportunity for a lower-cost partnership to procure surface water.
• Increased water rates without commensurate benefits.

DonShor


Why I will probably vote "yes": CA-DWR says Davis's groundwater levels show "localized pumping depressions"

I have vacillated over how to vote on this measure many, many times, often within the space of a single day, depending on what I have read most recently.

On the one hand, I do not want Davis's citizens to have to pay more for their water than they need to (although it should be noted that rates will be going up significantly even if Measure I is voted down). Even more strongly, I do not want this to turn into the reason that Davis has to sprawl its borders and overdevelop, as SD describes above. Taking more water out of the river also concerns me, given all the other demands on it.

On the other hand, we are contaminating the Delta with the discharge from our groundwater. That's not good. And it would be a disaster if we ran out of water... if one summer in the near future, we turn on our taps and nothing comes out. It would also be very bad if we experienced subsidence as a result of the groundwater pumping or if we contaminated the groundwater through further drilling, as DS describes above in more detail.

(All the hullabaloo about the fairness of the water rates is a non-issue, despite Bob Dunning's rantings about them. It only makes sense that the people who use more water in the summer, forcing us to build a larger infrastructure, ought to pay more. We should not be planting water intensive landscapes in this climate anyway, and there are many beautiful alternatives that require much less water).

With the arrival of a "No on I" flyer at my door, however, something new caught my eye: The "No" camp claims that "State Department of Water Resources studies show that area groundwater has not deteriorated in quantity over the last 50 years and that we are in no danger of over-drafting our aquifers" (see [WWW]here). If this were true, it would be an important, impartial counter to the claims of the "Yes on I" camp. However, as far as I can tell, that is not what CA-DWR studies show. Here is the full quote from a section entitled "Groundwater Level Trends":

Now, maybe somebody who knows more than I do can help clarify this issue further. Maybe there is another CA-DWR study that the "No on I" group was referring to; if so, I would like to see that study. Or, maybe they read the last phrase of the above quote, concerning the completion of the Indian Valley Reservoir as overturning the worries about decline of water levels. That's not how I read the paragraph, though. I see that as referring to the Yolo subbasin as a whole; I don't see how that could help with the "localized pumping depressions in the vicinity of the Davis." Again, however, I welcome further input on this issue. I have not yet voted and may wait until the very last moment to do so.

As for groundwater quality, the same study also says, "Localized impairments include elevated concentrations of boron (as high as 2 to 4 ppm) in groundwater along Cache Creek and in the Cache Creek Settling Basin area, increased levels of selenium present in the groundwater supplies for the City of Davis, and localized areas of nitrate contamination (YCFCWCD 1992) (Evenson, 1985)."

CovertProfessor

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