THE WATERS OF LIFE- 40% Increase in Extractions from the Russian/Eel System?

Excerpts from David Kellers' statement to the Petaluma Council and staff regarding Amendment 11:
To be read publicly at the meeting.

There are a series of policy questions embodied in amendment 11 that Have apparently not been presented for discussion with the contracting agencies in a timely fashion. As a consequence, we are left at the 11th hour trying have a rational discussion of very complex, expensive, and high risk issues. This is very unfortunate, and leaves us with little latitude to resolve this neatly and quickly.

It is frustrating that SCWA did not inform us of MMWD's plans for a new pipeline from Kastania, or the debates by MMWD and it's citizen Advisory committee on the need, financing, or impacts of it, or why MMWD wants to almost double their flows through the Petaluma Aqueduct or why it needs a 2nd pipeline, particularly given the dubiousness of the claim that the water was being used for added releases to Lagunitas Creek.

Why didn't the SCWA inform us that Sonoma County Planning Commission Refused to find that the proposed projects were consistent with the Sonoma County General Plan?
Why didn't SCWA tell us? And what are the answers? I don't like being treated like mushrooms.
In addition the expression of Mr. Poole's "Take it or leave it"
position, makes it even more difficult to know how or when these issues would see the light of day in forums that would have authority and timely consequences.

It would be useful if Mr. Poole were to volunteer his best efforts, instead of refusing to help get these items to prompt discussion with other contractors and the board of Supervisors( aka SCWA directors) prior to decision making on future expansion of water withdrawals from the Russian and Eel Rivers ( via the Potter Valley Project, "PVP")

Right now, the policies and issues surrounding the status of the Eel and Russian River fisheries and water withdrawals are in the hands of judges And various federal agencies. What are the limits on the rivers given the needs and mandates for restoration? What are the costs of restoration and protection in perpetuity? What are the hidden and externalized costs of not restoring and protecting these river systems? If we as water contractors are not going to discuss and decide these issues openly then who will?

We must learn to live and grow within our means. I believe it is far More appropriate for the water users to try to set this policy in a manner that is both sensitive to the needs of the water consumers, the fisheries, and the environment, and takes into account future water desires for growth and conservation.

I believe that by giving conditional approval to amendment 11, which authorizes additional water withdrawals and the infrastructure to do it, we can put the discussion of policy back in the hands of the elected policy makers, not staff and managers who are not answerable to the public and ratepayers.

It is time for all who are dependant on Russian/Eel Rivers ( or Groundwater that could be replaced by these rivers) to have a full, open discussion about the future of these two rivers. Hoping this goes away by approving amendment 11 or shuffling it off to an indeterminate amendment 12 will not make it any easier, and will put in place the next layer of SCWA construction and withdrawals that will make the discussions even moreconstrained and contorted. The improvements to the system envisioned and paid for under amendment 11 will take years to build, giving us time to have these discussions prior to the implementation of expensive water programs.
1. I support additional storage at Petaluma (Kastania tank #2), and approve of that project and proportional cost to Petaluma (vs NMWD and MMWD's share),
2. I support better management of the protocol for draw down of Kastania tanks, and approve of that proposed agreement.
3. I agree that we need eventual replacement for the Petaluma Aqueduct, and that redundancy of the pipeline does make sense to plan and pay our fair share for. Is there already a sinking fund for it's replacement? Why not, or how much is in it? What percentage of water in the existing aqueduct is Petaluma's? In the proposed new aqueduct? What is our share of the cost, Vs NMWD and MMWD?

I would approve of amendment 11 as a whole under the following conditions:

1. All contractors for water join together to establish long-term policies.This ultimately needs to be a partnership between Sonoma, Marin, and Mendocino county interests for the management of the river resources.

2. The portions of amendment 11 that agree to expansion of water production from the rivers, and the continuation of flows through the PVP, and any infrastructure to support this, should not be implemented and charged to the consumers until the following items are completed and amendment 11 is found to be in compliance with the final outcomes:

a) Completion of the endangered species act section 7 consultation and agreements to fund and implement it.

b) final adoption of a settlement or judgment on legal challenges to the PVP/Eel river and or Russian River diversions and management plans, as presently being challenged under CEQA and NEPA, California planning and zoning law, the public Trust Doctrine and the California Water Code, State and Federal Wild and Scenic Rivers acts, endangered species act, and the clean water act.

c) Final adoption or a settlement or judgment on the revised CEQA FEIR for MMWD's new pipeline.

d) Costs for any fines, remediation or mitigations for habitat restoration or losses on the Eel/ Russian Rivers are defined, apportioned and accounted for by all users.

e) SCWA produces a document for system expansion and improvements with a "not-to-exceed" cost for Petaluma's share of the improvements. Corresponding rate increases to pay for this are to be projected and balanced. We must not sign on to another corps of engineers type agreement!

f) SCWA and all contracting agencies agree to a targeted and measurable conservation program for existing and future water users that will assure, say 25% reduction in overall use within, say, 10 years. As in electrical generation, the cheapest and least damaging source of new water is conservation: agriculture, residential, commercial, and industrial.

g) SCWA and all contracting agencies agree to discuss policies regarding future water uses that come with growth. Until something like desalinization is cost effective, water will be a finite resource. How it is produced, distributed, and allocated needs to be developed in a long term policy statement for better management (vs increasing the take and size of the pipes and pumps.)

The above conditions would make me feel a lot more comfortable and Trusting of this agreement.
David Keller

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