Reference is made to a column by state Sen. Art Torres (D- Los Angeles) entitled, "Water Policy Must Be More Than Mirage" (Op-Ed Page Aug. 19). As chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Water Resources with some 12 years of involvement in the north-south water wars, I welcome this newly found interest on the part of Torres.
A great many words have been written over a Senate Office of Research brief titled, "Who Pays and Who Benefits: An Update on Water Development in California." To me the timing and content of that document are suspect. It is nothing more than a piece of a political orchestration to detract from my SB 32 becoming law. The report, if believed, runs the risk of imposing a permanent water deficiency on the San Joaquin Valley and Southern California.
The report assumes the firm yield of the project to be static. This is a highly erroneous assumption. It ignores the fact that the State Water Resources Control Board has reopened the hearings on the water rights of the State Water Project. Our best professional guess is the revised standards will include San Francisco Bay. Consequently, the present firm yield of the project will be diminished. Torres may wish to sponsor legislation precluding such protections be offered San Francisco Bay; I do not. When those standards are imposed, Southern California and the San Joaquin Valley will get less and less. Perhaps either Torres or the Senate Office of Research will tell us how that anticipated loss will be made up. The report and Torres are factually in error.