And as we have always expected... Westlands at the public trough AGAIN!
March 18, 2010 -- While reduced exports "doesn't work" for Westlands, apparently the water deliveries announced for Westlands growers for 2010 mean a highly profitable year. According to an email sent by Westlands' grower Mark Borba to Congressman Dennis Cardoza, Congressman Jim Costa, and other Westlands leaders, the announcement of Westlands water allocations was a "$140,000,000 phone call." (To read the email on-line, visit http://aguanomics.com/2010/03/water-is-money-is-politics.html)
Although Westslands officials insist publicly that they are entitled to full contract deliveries of water, otherwise farmers and farm workers alike will suffer in the Central Valley, the delivery of surplus water which can range from zero to over one million acre feet per year, depending on the availability of surplus water, is what Westlands is entitled to under the terms of their contract with the Bureau of Reclamation. Their water rights are appropriative and junior compared to other regions in California, but they have a business model and a marketing campaign based on water reliability -- an allotment that they are not legally entitled to receive. Here are some excerpts from the email Borba sent:
Thought I'd share my rough calculation of the impact of the (30% + 8-10%) = 38-40% allocation announcement now anticipated (thanks to all of your tireless efforts) from the Bureau on March 15th:
It was a $140,000,000 phone call!.....adding an average of $312/ac to the "margins" of every grower's budget in the District:
(Increase by 35%) = 420,000 AF X $300/af (ie. $465-vs-$165; Supplemental -vs- O&M)
(Total 40%) = 480,000 AF X $30/af (ie. Est. reduced O&M/af)
$140,000,000 over 450,000 acres = $311/acre
How growers elect to "spend" that is anybody's guess:
Plant more acres (Cotton?)
Substitute for Supplemental water (no acreage change; lower input costs; shift to capital spending?)
Substitute for Well Water (no acreage change; lower input costs; add margin to financing package?)
"blend" all water costs; farm more acres (NOTE: +35% = 0.8925 AF/acre)
Any grower talking to a lender about 2010 financing not only shows this increase in margin, but can now "show me the water", which has become the bankers lament...and a prerequisite to getting crop financing.
Thanks to Cong. Costa and Cardoza for not only pushing for this accelerated announcement in the increased water supply, but for insisting that the allocations (both the 30% and the addn'l 8-10%) be delivered at "Contract Rates".
This is HUGE...combined = $140,000,000!
So of course, reduced exports will not work for Westlands. After all, their profit each and every year is more important than the Delta's economy and ecosystem. Cotton and almonds for export trump native salmon fisheries and Delta family farmers.
So how is implementation of the BDCP going to restore the Delta? How are we supposed to trust that proper governance of new conveyance will bring the Delta back to life when Westlands growers have access to Congressional Members and Senators who ignore Delta communities?
Time and time again, the people of the Delta are called provincial, pesky, and limited in their thinking when we question governance as the answer. They (Westlands, the Coalition for a Sustainable Delta, Metropolitan Water District, and ACWA) have made us and the Delta smelt into the enemy. This time is at hand to expose their water profiteering ways for what they are and to show that they will never willingly agree to lessen their dependence on the Delta.