The Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District had a special meeting today to address utilization of the Industrial water system and the District's water rights. The goal of the meeting was for a broader planning effort to ensure the District can continue to provide reliable, cost-effective water to wholesale customers and the community.
It was essentially an interview for water attorney David Aladjem through a question/answer forum on Water Resources Planning (WRP). Mr. Aladjem gave some of his history with water law. It was quite extensive in the Valley and Southern California area. He seemed to really know his subject matter and he pointed out that there are very few experts in water law. He explained there were two stages for WRP: 1. Advisory Committee Vision and 2. Decision Process. He then started to talk about "Water Transfer." That's right, the moving of water out of the area and the impediments involved.
Director Tera Prucha asked about EIR problems and if one year plans were best or what has happened in the past. "Can state take over water?" She also wanted to know how to safeguard limited amounts.
Chairwoman Kaitlin Sopoci-Belknap asked the question, "How do we defend our water rights?" Mr. Aladjem pointed out a law that was established that protects the "Area of Origin's" water rights after Los Angeles sucked Mono Lake almost dry, and that they can only sell a "surplus" of their water. But he also said this is superseded by an act of the Governor forcing take over of the water through the, "Emergency Service Act."
Director Bruce Rupp asked Mr. Aladjem how he was personally perceived by the "environmental world." Mr. Aladjem gave an answer that seemed to imply neither hot nor cold, but upfront with facts. (Some of his projects seemed to lean toward the environment) Director Rupp also was sceptical of someone paying capital costs for a project that would be held to a one year lease.
It was interesting when Director Aldaron Laird asked about the expediency of licensing the water, and what time frame he recommended. Mr. Aladjem asked if he could speak of that later after the public meeting ended. Kaitlin would have none of that and let the lawyer know they were bound to the public and all must be disclosed in public. Aldaron pointed out the conception of "60 million gallons" of surplus water that is not being used industrial and how that will, in fact, affect "flow changes." Aldaron aslo touched on needing a "Water Availability Analysis" and what to do with potential "Blue Lake Rancheria" water rights.
Overall, I think the board did a good job in grilling the potential water law attorney. I hope they decide to hire him for counseling through the process they decide to go.
"Will that be one 1,000 gallon water bag or two?"
"It is not if they are coming for the water, it is when are they?" (Quoting Tera Prucha while she campaigned for the Director seat.)
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