I read with great interest the DCI article entitled "Piping is changing the rural landscape" (July 8). Hopefully anyone living on or near an irrigation ditch read it as well and question the inherent dangers of dealing with government projects.
The big push by the government to pipe irrigation ditches is funded by Santa Claus money called government grants. Some question why "the federal government is willing to fork over millions of dollars for these projects." The reason is because this "free" money is anything but. Government grants are financed by the working class and retirees (aka taxpayers) There is no free money.
Those tempted by this "easy" money should consider the not-so-easy outcome. Not only shareholders in ditches are affected. It involves ALL property and thus all property owners through which new pipelines are laid. No longer will the natural contour of our historic ditches be respected. Instead the pipelines will be laid in a straight line resulting in ugly gouges cut through yards, fields, and maybe even outbuildings. There would also be the destruction of wildlife habitat, trees, top soil, etc., resulting in greatly reduced property values. If there is a cost overrun (typical of most government projects), shareholders must pay, and the required replacement headgates (pressurized preferred) will be at shareholders' expense.
Nothing lasts forever. Broken and/or worn out piping? There won't be additional grant money. In fact, according to the salinity coordinator, there will be no "leftover" money. Future generations will bear that burden.
Economic failure around the world can be tied to misinformed, greedy people wanting to get free stuff from their government be they Greeks, Puerto Ricans, Californians, or Detroiters. Do we Delta County folks want to emulate that?
The clock is ticking. The Delta Urban Renewal Authority (DURA) has 120 days to reach agreement with the taxing entities it's asking to help fund a gateway project near the intersection of Highways 50 and 92. Half that time has elapsed, and there is no Plan B, city manager David Torgler emphasized during a meeting with taxing entities Monday.