The following are excerpts from an opinion piece written last week by Sen. K. Maurice Johannessen, R-Redding, chairman of the Senate Select Committee on CalFed. The product of negotiations between state and federal officials, CalFed is a recent plan to distribute California’s water supply, although its implementation has been delayed by legal challenges.

“For those who take the time to read this article, I want to assure you that the issue of water is not a partisan issue. Quite frankly, it doesn’t matter if you are Republican, Democrat, Independent, Libertarian, Vegetarian, or anything in between. Water—its supply and quality—is an issue that will have profound effects on the future of this great state. …”

“The future growth of Northern California, especially our agricultural economy, is in extreme danger because our water resources are taken without adequate protection. In fact, significant actions are now being taken by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California to take even more of Northern California’s precious water resources. The battle over water between Southern and Northern California is a longstanding feud. One main concern is the water quality in the Bay-Delta Region. Excess pumping of water from the Bay-Delta by the Metropolitan Water District has created a crisis in the Bay-Delta’s water quality. The excess pumping has allowed the intrusion of chemicals and salt, degrading the ecological balance in the Delta. …”

“If you total the amount of water being transferred south, Northern California is experiencing the greatest drain of its water resources in history. Why should Northern California pay the price for Southern California’s poor planning? Ironically, Southern California’s interests believe that Northern California is responsible for their water problems, even if it destroys the North State. …”

“The solutions proposed thus far by the state and federal governments have ended in lawsuits, with probably several more to come. It is time to think smart. We can do this together in an open and honest process so the entire state will benefit. We can’t afford to waste any more time on politically palatable ‘non-solutions.’ We need real answers, even if they are difficult and we need them now. Time is running out.”