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TUD response to TuCare

TUD response to TuCare (Melinda Fleming)

Thank you for taking the time to share your concerns on behalf of TuCARE.  This response herein is meant to address several points your letter brings forward.

First, I wholeheartedly agree that water is a most precious resource. TuCARE has certainly championed the wise use of public lands for multiple benefits including meadows as working landscapes for grazing and water sequestration alike.  I am 100% in alignment with the fact that water is life and the basis for livelihoods.  Unfortunately, our county has struggled far too long with unperfected County of Origin water rights, relying instead on a water contract with PG&E.

Second, as you know doubt know, TUD is constantly monitoring our water supply in Pinecrest, the water content in the snowpack and projected water availability; however we have no control over the water emanating from the Stanislaus and stored in Pinecrest which we don’t own.

Prior to the February board meeting, the TUD board received conflicting information regarding its water supply.  According to a memo written by our former general manager, Ed Pattison, TUD’s water supply looked “grim” with only 60 days left.  While historic data is certainly important in order to project water availability for the year, it is becoming more complicated as climate extremes become a reality.

The February meeting was informational only and far too early in the season to make any determination.  There was no reason to change or reaffirm policy direction or declare anything except hope Pinecrest filled.  In other words, TUD continues to issue water to service applicants equally.

I cannot comment on Ed Pattison because it is a personnel matter. With all due respect, to say TUD has destabilized since Ed left seriously underestimates the capability of the TUD workforce.  I will say, what “accelerated the implementation of many projects within TUD’s capital improvement plan” was the fact that the board approved a 5-year stepped rate increase. It was the ratepayers’ pocketbook that enabled us to chip away at the backlog of CIP projects and I thank the ratepayers for this.

Climate and weather are now in unchartered territory and in real-time. Drought and fire are on everyone’s minds.  What about our growth and our right to use the water we save? Whether you agree with the importance of county self-reliance or not, I want us to control our destiny, in fact, the TUD board is 100% united on owning the most senior water rights on the Stanislaus River precisely for our county’s economic survival and prosperity.

Again, thank you for expressing your concerns and I hope you can get behind a united TUD board and this opportunity of a century; owning senior water rights.

Best regards,

Barbara Balen
TUD Board President