I have a copy of the 1-1/2 inch thick Final EIR/EIS that was sent to SCWC. I read it yesterday and concluded that responses to comments are skimpy.
If anyone would like to read it next (to save downloading), you may pick it up from me at 3746 Spring Creek Drive in Santa Rosa. Call first: 544-8109.
Got water? Got enough water in the Russian and Eel Rivers? Got treated wastewater to sell to Napa Valley and Sonoma Valley grape growers who’ve overdrafted their local groundwater and surface supplies, and want more cheap water?
The North Bay Water Reuse Authority members – composed of SCWA, Novato Sanitary District, Las Gallinas Sanitary District, Sonoma Valley County Sanitation District (Bd. of Supes), and the Napa Sanitary District – apparently haven’t been reading the stories and State and Federal mandates over the past few years about the lack of predictability of expanding future potable water supplies, and how best to use the recyclable treated water for the primary objective of offsetting current and future scarce potable water supplies.
Instead, they’ve they’ve put together a massive Bureau of Reclamation water transfer and pumping project to find new customers for this precious water, now incarnated as treated wastewater.
This federal/local project, costing hundreds of millions of dollars, proposes to ship treated waste water that originated from our Russian and Eel Rivers and Santa Rosa Plain Groundwater that was originally sold and delivered by SCWA to the North Marin Water District (serving Novato), MMWD (serving northern San Rafael), Valley of the Moon and the City of Sonoma. (Napa gets its water from local surface supplies and the State Water Project.) After those contractors’ customers use the water, the wastewater is treated by the members of the NBWRA.
While there is a very valuable use of a small fraction of this water for flushing out the old Cargill Salt Ponds (San Pablo Bay Marsh Restoration Project) to hasten restoration of functioning salt marsh habitat, this is a very small component of this huge water transfer, and doesn’t merit the intentional and unintentional consequences of this massive US Bureau of Reclamation Project. While SCWA has proclaimed that they want to be ‘carbon neutral’ and the most “green” water agency in the state or the country, they’ve not included any significant carbon or GHG offsets for this massive pumping and plumbing project.
Despite several years of talking, pleading, educating and presenting alternatives that would demand local reuse to offset potable water demands on the beleagured Russian and Eel River systems, NBWRA has just released the Final EIR, full steam ahead.
Your review is essential. Your comments are critical. Do you think that the Russian River System should be used to support overdrafted supplies for grape growers in southern Sonoma and Napa Valleys?
Do we really have water to spare originating from the Russian River and Eel Rivers?
Or should SCWA be demanding that its co-participants do a much better job of using this valuable water in concert with NMWD, MMWD, Sonoma and Valley of the Moon Water District to supply their existing customers with treated wastewater and getting more reuse out of their residential, commercial, industrial and institutional customers?
With the NBWRA in place, there will be very little incentive to spend the time and money to implement these strategies necessary for our water futures. In fact, with NBWRA in place, there will be huge income stream incentives to sell the treated wastewater to new customers instead. Alternative 1 is the closest they’ve allowed to a smaller, more localized program, but even that is huge, and expands water usage to thousands of acres of new agricultural customers.
The timeline for your comments is very short:
SCWA Board of Directors will hold their public hearing on certifying the FEIR on Dec. 8th! Additional participating agencies will hold their hearings between 12/10 and 12/16 (see below). Send your written comments to:
Marc Bautista SCWA PO Box 11628 Santa Rosa 95406-1628 (707) 547-1923 Marc.Bautista@scwa.ca.gov