In the following statement released to local media, newly elected Oakdale Irrigation District (OID) board member Linda Santos says the OID On-farm Conservation Program has not been openly and adequately explained to the public.
I ran for the Oakdale Irrigation District board to help bring transparency and accountability to the district, and I have spent tremendous effort to do just that.
Keeping our community’s water local is essential. With too many of our domestic wells going dry and water tables for our groundwater aquifers dropping, we must be conservative and prudent with water management.
Occasionally selling excess water to out-of-region buyers may not always a bad thing, but OID first must consider the environmental impacts and long-term effects to our local economy and all of our community members.
These are complicated issues that require in-depth public discussions, complete candor by OID’s management and total transparency so that everyone understands exactly what is being proposed and precisely who would financially benefit from selling our community’s water.
Unfortunately, that has not been the case with OID’s on-farm conservation program. There are many unanswered questions about how it would work, how it would be paid for and who would financially benefit.
Community concerns about that water sale deal led the Oakdale Groundwater Alliance to file legal actions.
I am not a member of the alliance, but some of the OID constituents I represent on the board are members of the alliance. It is appropriate and beneficial for board members to listen to the concerns of all their constituents. That’s how democracy is supposed to work.
I have not disclosed any information I received during closed-door OID executive sessions.
But the OID is a public agency funded by our community’s tax dollars, and it is required to do the public’s business in public and to make public records available to the public.
That’s what transparency means.