Eye On Modesto

Thoughts and observations about Modesto and Stanislaus County

More Water Sale Information You Need to Know

By Reed Smith

Right now, MID has overcommitted it water resource by 71,804 acre feet, with no drought and no sale to SF.  With the sale to SF, that increases to 99,044 AF (and still no drought) of water MID does not posses.
This irrigation season, MID farmers are getting their full 42 acre inches of surface water deliveries.  Based upon rainfall, MID should have drasticaly cut water deliveries like Turlock Irrigation District did by cutting 50%. They politically could not document the drought with delivery reductions.  The MID Board, motivated by unknown incentives, is going to sell ALL of our water to SF.  I say ALL based upon the fact they are already breaching a written signed contract with the City of Modesto.  If this Board is willing to breach a written contract with their primary customers, and voters who elected them, they will do anything.
The MID proposed contract gives SF first right of refusal for all future sales.  Let’s connect the dots.  MID sells water they do not have, directly taking it from a populace that has a written contract, in order to provide it to the SFPUC and the Cargill development.  How is Modesto to protect any of it’s water with Nick Blom, Jr., Glen Wild, Paul Warda, and Tom Van Groningen sitting as Directors?  We can’t.
The City Council has the most direct power to stop this sale by enforcing, by litigation, the written contract it has with MID:  Appendix E: Water Treatment and Delivery Agreement.   This document is enforceable, and will prevent the sale.  THE PROBLEM:  Rubin Villalobos along with a handful or others are trying desperately to “flip” the 7 to zero City Council vote to sue MID to a 4 to 3 against suing MID.  Villalobos’s letter of May 4, says explicitly his purpose:  to stop the vote to sue MID.  Why would he do that?  He is being paid to do that, claiming he represents MCS, when MCS’s write he does not, all the while he is representing another paying client.  Villalobos profits from claiming to represent MCS, to the detriment of MCS.  We do not know the name of the real client.
Let me run through the math:  It takes 42 acre inches to grow an almond crop EVERY YEAR.  A farmer cannot skip an irrigation year because he did not get water.  The tree dies.
If MID sells to 27,240 AF of our water to SF, the resulting –99,044 AF from the over-obligation table can only come from one place, agriculture.  Ag gets, on average, 191,000 AF.  Subtract 99,044 AF from that and you have a 54.7% acreage loss to ag.  That means that permanent-crop farmers will have to fallow 54.7% of 58,000 acres, or saying it another way, turn 31,726 acres into desert, right in our midst.  Each acre, if growing almonds, the farmer generates $5,700 worth of almonds at the farm gate [3,000 lb. almond yield (non-pereil + pollinator) x $1.90/lb = $5,700 /Acre].  That money is, in turn, circulated throughout the Modesto community seven (7) times, as per Cecil Russell, Modesto Chamber of Commerce Exec Dir.  So, we take a loss of 31,726 acres x $5,700 farm gate value per acre x 7 times economic multiplication factor = $1,265,967,400 ANNUAL LOSS to MODESTO.
Stanislaus County will be an economic desert by 2018.  We have approximately 20% unemployment in our county now.  WHAT WILL IT BE LIKE LOSING $1.26 Billion from our Stanislaus economy?  AND, WHAT WILL CRIME BE?
MID does not have any water to sell.  The sale is fraud and grand theft.

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