Thursday April 9, 2015

U~T San Diego –

Californians seem to have remarkably good attitudes about the sacrifices they’ll make as the drought heads into its fourth year. Based on polls, they even are supportive of crackdowns on excessive water use, which may explain Gov. Jerry Brown’s recent call for $500 fines for those who over-water their lawns or take excessively long showers.

But how tolerant will the public remain about slashing water use once they realize how state and federal officials are using — some would say squandering — the state’s dwindling resources?

On Tuesday, I attended a packed meeting at the Oakdale Irrigation District east of Modesto, where farmers and residents questioned a plan to lower water levels at the massive New Melones Reservoir — and possibly drain Lake Tulloch, a small lake surrounded by homes in the Sierra foothills.

Here’s the rub: The water isn’t being released to benefit farms and homes. It is being released to help coax a handful of steelhead trout to swim to the ocean. A “pulse flow” was scheduled for Wednesday, but has been delayed amid the dispute. But large releases are imminent.

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