During the course of the lengthy Santa Maria Basin complex water litigation, our locally elected Nipomo Community Services District retained, in conjunction with other water purveyors, an expert witness to testify at trial. The expert the NCSD retained was Robert G. Beeby, P.E. of the consulting company, SAIC. You can see Mr. Beeby’s qualifications here: Beeby CV . You can read about SAIC’s qualifications here. On their website they describe their company:
We are a leading provider of scientific, engineering, systems integration and technical services and solutions to all branches of the U.S. military, agencies of the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), the intelligence community, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and other U.S. Government civil agencies, as well as to customers in selected commercial markets. Our customers seek our domain expertise to solve complex technical challenges requiring innovative solutions for mission-critical functions . . . .
Mr. Beeby gave sworn deposition testimony prior to testifying in Phase V of the water litigation. Depositions are legal proceedings that lawyers use to question a witness about the potential testimony that witnesses will give at an upcoming trial. Depositions are legal proceedings and the witness is placed under oath, and sworn to tell the truth. A deposition carries with it the same penalties of perjury as does testimony at trial before a judge and jury.
Mr. Beeby was a special witness, in that he was retained by the NCSD to study and analyze certain issues and render certain opinions during this particular phase of the case. These opinions related to the status of the health of the water basin. I have a copy of a memorandum containing all of Mr. Beeby’s opinions that he formulated for Phase V. You can see a copy of Mr. Beeby’s opinion memorandum here: Beeby Deposition Opinion Memo
I believe his first six opinions are the most significant as they relate to the water basin, and I have reprinted them:
1. The stipulated judgment adequately provides for the management of the water resources, both surface and ground water of Santa Maria Basin.
2. In general, the availability of local service water, local ground water and imported water, along with the existing infrastructure, is sufficient to meet the water demands of the Basin through 2030. This opinion is based on implementation of technically sound management principles and maintenance as set forth in the stipulation.
3. Local areas may require special attention from the technical experts of the three management committees because of differing hydrogeologic characteristics among the three management areas.
4. It is highly unlikely that the availability of groundwater resources to the contesting parties will be significantly impacted by anticipated growth in the Nipomo or Santa Maria Management Areas.
5. There are presently 2,500,000 [as of 2002 (Alroth, 2002)] acre-feet in ground water storage above mean sea level in the Santa Maria Basin. This would meet the projected water level demands at 2030 levels for 15 years without replenishment. There has never been zero recharge or rainfall for any annual period for the entire period of record.
6. There are presently 84,000 acre-feet (Year 2000) in ground water storage above mean sea level in the Nipomo in the Nipomo Mesa Management area. This would meet the projected water demands at 2030 levels for 5 years without replenishment. There has never been zero recharge or rainfall for any annual period for the entire period of record.
In his pre-trial phase V deposition testimony, Mr. Beeby went through and explained each of those opinions in detail. He begins his explanation of these opinions on page 21 of his deposition, lines 23-25. You can read the actual Beeby deposition testimony here:
Notice, this is a rather recent deposition, which was taken on 5/15/06. For those not wanting to wade through the deposition transcript itself, I will re-post the relevant portions below so that anyone can read Mr. Beeby’s actual testimony in stating and explaining each of these opinions:
Q. By Mr. Zimmer: Let’s turn, Mr. Beeby, to the opinions in Exhibit A, taking them in order.
The first opinion says “The stipulated judgment adequately provides for the management of the water resources, both surface and groundwater of Santa Maria Basin.” Can you tell me what that means?
A. What it means, from the engineering standpoint, from the management standpoint, is that technical committees of professionals will be made and will be formed for each of the three management areas. And those technical committees will be charged with the responsibility of monitoring both surface and groundwater resources with land use, and will be preparing an annual report reporting on the condition of each of the three subareas.
And these reports will then guide whether or not measures need to be taken to either sustain the resource, whether–whether additional recharge should be required, whether there are water-quality issues that may or may not be developing, and, essentially, give a sense–a report of the health of each of the management areas to the court.
So if adverse circumstances do appear to be occurring, we will have advance–we, the technical committee–I’m assuming that I might be part of that–would be given advance notice and could make changes to the way water demands are used–or water is used, I should say, maybe changing pumping patters, doing those kinds of things that would affect the physical health of the basin.
Q. And this is based upon current information that you have available to you?
A. Well, it’s based on current information and my understanding of what the responsibility of the technical committees for each subarea, or each management area, will be assigned to do, yes.
Beeby Deposition pp. 21:23-25; 22:1-23; 23:1-8.
Ok, so what do we learn from his first opinion? Well, to me, one of the most significant points he makes is that there are technical committees of professionals the sole purpose of which is to watch over the respective subareas of the water basin to make certain there are no problems with that particular area. Nipomo is one of those sub areas of that has a committee of professionals. One of those appears to be the NCSD’s own expert, Mr. Beeby himself. And, what do these professionals do? Why, they get advance notice of any potential pumping or other problems with the subarea over which they are charged.
Why is this important to Nipomo? Well, each year these professionals will monitor their area of management of the basin. They will prepare annual reports on the basin’s health. In other words, we are not left alone to guess by ourselves how things are going in our Nipomo Mesa Management area of the water basin.
This means that if the Nipomo Mesa Management subarea of the basin begins to get into trouble, these professionals engage and the portions of the stipulated judgment that govern management of the basin come into play. They do this to avoid any serious long term damage to that particular portion of the basin. In other words, we here in Nipomo, as part of the stipulated judgment reached during this trial will have professionals monitoring the basin, in conjunction with our own NCSD. They will implement measures if there is a need to insure the water quality and overall health of the Nipomo Mesa Management area. This is what I understand from this opinion and also from reading the stipulated judgment. If others have a differing interpretation, please leave a comment or send me an email, and I will post that version.
Let’s continue with Mr. Beeby’s deposition testimony and opinions:
Q. Okay. Number two, why don’t you just read that for us and tell us what that means?
A. “In general, the availability of local surface water, local groundwater and imported water, along with the existing infrastructure, is sufficient to meet the water demands of the Basin through 2030. This opinion is based on implementation of technically-sound management principles and maintenance as set forth in the stipulation.”
Q. The basin currently is meeting demands correct?
A. It’s my understanding, according to Mr. Scalamini’s testimony, and my review of the whole thing that, yes, there is no long-term overdraft, which is another way of saying that the basin’s current demands are being met.
Beeby Deposition p. 23:9-24.
What strikes me as significant from this opinion is the amount of water available to the overall basin. There is sufficient water available in the basin to meet needs and the water demand of the basin through the year 2030, which is some 23 years away. Currently the water demands and needs of the basin are being met. This is good news. There is no long term overdraft. We are not in imminent danger of sea-water intrusion into the aquifer. There is not an imminent threat that if we go to our water faucet and turn it on that either sea water or dirt will come pouring out.
Let’s continue with Mr. Beeby’s next opinion:
Q. Can you read item number three for us and tell us what that means.
A. Ok. Item three, “Local areas may require special attention from the technical experts on the three management committees because of differing hydrogeologic characteristics among the three management areas.”
Q. And what does that mean sir?
A. Well, it means that each of the three management areas were defined because there are differing hydrogeologic characteristics. And because they’re different, they can’t be managed, necessarily using a standard cookbook that would apply to all.
Q. And why is that? In other words, you couldn’t just reat it all as one big, large basin–
A. Not in my opinion, no.
Q. –to manage it?
A. No, you could not.
Q. Any why is that?
A. Maybe I should back up to say that you could–you could manage the principals. I mean the principals could be set to manage the whole basin. But the individual subareas are unique, and therefore, you wouldn’t apply the same techniques to each.
For example, in Nipomo Mesa area, its source of water is principally rainfall, and it gets no–no recharge from Twitchell. It has no imported water supply right now, although they have an agreement to have one. So consequently, that is totally different than the Santa Maria basin where there may be some slight differences in rainfall. But Twitchell certainly has an impact on the water supplies of Santa Maria basin that is covered in the stipulate–in the stipulation. the northern cities are fairly independent in that they are served primarily by Lopez. So each of the three are unique. And that’s basically what I am trying to convey by my item three here.
Q. So the–the source of water in the various areas is different? The hydrogeologic structures in those areas are different? Essentially, what makes water rise and fallin the groundwater basins in those areas is different?
A. With regard to the source of supply, yes. I would hesitate to say that the demand are essentially different. In other words, there is urban and ag uses in both or all three subareas, or all three management areas. And both urban and ag require a certain amount of water. While climatic differences may be fairly close, they aren’t exactly the same. But essentially, you still have to pump for urban demand and for ag demand in all three basins.
Q. So the sources of water are different?
Q. Are the demand different in terms of urban versus ag in the different areas?
A. They probably are, but it’s minor. It that sense, we pretty much used overall figures, weighted average numbers for the agricultural demand and the urban demand in the three areas.
Q. Across the board?
A. Across the board, yes.
Q. And what about the hydrogeologic structures in those areas? is there any difference that is significant between the areas in that respect?
A. Well, yes. The principal sources of rechage in the Santa Maria basin are infiltration from the river channels, the Sisquoc, the Santa Maria, and the Cuyama, where they come together. There is an aquitard near the coast in the Santa Maria basin. Treatment of waste water is pretty much the same in that it is treated and used for recharging for all basins. The Nipomo Mesa area, the bulk of it, not counting the sand due area, is substantially higher in elevation than either the northern cities area or the Santa Maria Valley area. I think all are subject to sea-water intrusion if they basins are not–or the management areas are not managed to preclude that. That’s all I can think of a the moment.
Beeby Deposition pp. 23:25;24:1-25; 25:1-25; 26:1-25; 27:1-2.
I think the important points Beeby makes in this rather lengthy testimony is that the overall basin is divided into three management areas, one of which is the Nipomo Mesa Management area. He also points out that if not managed properly, all three areas of the basin could be subject to sea water intrusion. This is an obvious fact, that I don’t think anyone denies. Mr. Beeby did not say, however, that any of the three management areas were close to sea water intrusion or that it had occurred. In fact such an opinion would be contradictory to the healthy basin testimony he previously gave in the preceding opinions. All he is saying is that we have to manage the water basis properly in order to avoid any potential disaster such as sea water intrusion. Of course we know from sad historical fact that basins up and down California’s coast are subject to sea water intrusion. So, we want to manage ours to avoid any potential intrusion in our own community. Fortunately the litigation has provided these area management protocols staffed by well trained professionals who report yearly to help us avoid such a problem locally.
Continuing with Mr. Beeby’s opinions:
Q. Okay. Let’s move on to number four.
A. Number four says “It is highly unlikely that the availability of groundwater resources to the contesting parties will be significantly impacted by anticipated growth in the Nipomo or Santa Maria Management Areas.”
Q. You used that term “contesting parties.” What does that mean?
A. What it means to me is the parties that did not sign the stipulation.
Q. So they’re–you understand they are not actually contesting the stipulation? They don’t have any problem with people entering into the stipulation if they want to?
A. Again, it’s just my understanding that they are the parties who did not sign the stipulation.
Q. So really, what the–when the word “contesting” is used in these opinoins, it means the nonstipulating parties?
A. Yes. It would be an engineering definition of a legal term, I suppose.
Q. You are saying here it’s unlikely that the availability of groundwater resources to the stipulating parties would be significantly impacted by the anticipated growth in Nipomo or Santa Maria?
A. That’s correct.
Q. Explain to me what the basis of that one is.
A. Basically, there’s limited potentially-developable land in either of those two management areas. That means native vegitation that might convert either to agriculture or to rural use. So there’s not very many acres, number one, that could be developed into, quote, new land that would create new water demand. Secondly, as urban growth continues, it will largely take place on existing agricultural land were the demands are already being experienced in the basin. and according to the stipulation, any additional urban growth will be provided for by the urban purveyors through either the imported supply or the use of their allocation to the Twitchell supplies. so when you convert from ag to urban, you move the supplier from the groundwater to the–the responsibility for supplying water, you move it to the urban purveyors, leaving water that the ag guys did pump for the remaining ag pumpers.
Q. Are you saying here, in shorthand version, that the–the stipulation is not going to take water from the notstipulating parties?
A. Well, I think so. Yes.
Beeby Deposition pp. 27:3-25; 28:1-25; 29:1.
In this opinion, Beeby explains what he means by the term contesting parties. He means those parties in the litigation who decided not to sign the stipulation, but rather be bound by the eventual judgment of the court. Several landowners who are parties to the litigation decided not to enter into the stipulation. The wisdom and reasoning of such a decision is really a topic of a different post, so I won’t engage that issue right now. Perhaps one of the landowners would like to submit to me a guest post on that issue and I can post it as well.
We also understand that Beeby believes, based on his years training, study, and experience it is unlikely that the availability of groundwater resources would be significantly impacted by the anticipated growth in Nipomo. This means his opinions include the fact that Nipomo will continue to grow and develop to its eventual build out capacity. Why? Because as growth continues it will take place on land that already makes demands on the basin water supply.
On to the next opinion:
Q. Ok. What’s number five? can you read that and tell us what that means?
A. Sure. Five, “There are presently 2,500,000 (as of 2002) from Alroth, acre-feet in groundwater storage above mean sea level in the Santa Maria basin. This would meet projected water demands at 2030 levels for 15 years without replenishment. There has never been zero recharge or rainfall for any annual period for the entire period of record.”
Q. And that’s based on a projected water demand for the year 2030?
A. The projection of 15 years supply in the underground stroage is based on 2030 levels of demand, yes.
Q. So you are saying there is enough water in the Santa Maria basin to meet all the water de3mands, even projected out at 2030 levels, year 2030 levels, for 15 years without any replenishment at all?
A. That’s what the numbers show, but I wouldn’t recommend they do it that way. But yes, there is enough in the underground storage that you could ride through a drought with limited recharge. And if there was no recharge, which is just the assumption we used for this, it would last 15 years before you dropped the water level below mean sea level and then started to have problems, serious problems, with sea-water intrusion.
Q. so in other words, you could go through a 15 year drought, and assuming things pi8cked back up after that, you wouldn’t have a problem?
A. I wouldn’t say you wouldn’t have a problem. Clearly you would have increased pump cost, and there may be quality changes in the groundwater. I’m just saying that in terms of wet water, you could meet the demands for that period of time, yes.
Q. And there have been time periods in the past in the Santa Maria basis where there has been more water, less water, drought?
Q. How many periods of drought have there been historically in the Santa Maria basin?
A. I don’t recall.
Q. Do you recall any drought period for ten years?
A. Well, there was a drought period from–again, I–don’t hold me to the years, but there was about a five-year drought period from ’86 to ’90, something like that. There was a dry period in the 70’s. There may have been three or four in the priod that we looked at for the Nipomo Mesa area.
But the main thing is that the water levels do go up and down based on recharge, and it does, as you say, go up and down. And you don’t deal with averages in this business. It’s nice to say that you have an average of 10,000 acre-feet, but you still have to provide for the year when your demands are higher and your supply is lower.
Q. All right. And that’s normal?
A. That’s perfectly normal, yes. And that’s what the management committees will be considering when they determine whether there should be any change in the way the water resources are managed.
Q. When I say “normal,” it’s normal for the area to go through periods of heavy rainfall, less rainfall, drought. That’s normal?
A. Yes, that’s normal.
Beeby Deposition pp. 29:2-25; 30:1-25; 31:1-16
The most significant portion of this opinion is the sheer amount of water contained within the Santa Maria Basin, 2,500,000 above sea level, that would meet projected demands at 2030 water levels for 15 years even without one year of rain. Of course that is the extreme, and no one would suggest that would be healthy for the basin. This was simply an assumption they made in terms of how long the water the basin contains would last without any recharge at all. The other significant portion of this opinion was the fact that there has never been a year over the course of their keeping of records where there has been absolutely no rain. In other words, even in the driest of years there has always been at least some measurable rain.
The next opinion, the last one that I think is significant, and probably the most significant as it relates to the Nipomo Mesa Management area is number six:
Q. Number Six.
A. It’s a parallel statement for Nipomo Mesa. Number six reads, “There are presently 84,000 acre-feet (year 2000) in groundwater storage above mean sea level in the Nipomo Mesa management area. This would meet projected water demands at 2030 levels for five years without replenishment. There has never been zero recharge or rainfall in any annual period for the entire period of record.”
Q. With the same comments that–in the discussion we just had with regard to item number five, the Santa Maria basin, in terms of, you know, the analysis of this, would it be the same for this section?
A. Yes. Yes.
Beeby Deposition pp. 31:17-25; 32:1-5.
This is the money shot for Nipomo’s water supply. Based on all the best evidence available to all the best water experts and water litigators in the state of California. For the Nipomo Mesa Managment Area there is 84,000 acre-feet of water in its basin area. Nipomo residents could consume water at year 2030 build out water pumping levels for five years, without one year of rain before the water levels would be in danger. Now, would that be prudent? No, of course not. Is that what any responsible person would or is advocating? No, of course not. This is simply an analysis of the best minds available on the most accurate levels available in what has been designated as the Nipomo Mesa Management area of the Santa Maria Water Basin.
This was Robert Beeby’s deposition testimony in preparation for phase V of the trial. I don’t have a copy of his trial transcript, assuming that he did testify. If I come across that trial testimony, I will post it here for public review; however, based on Mr. Bebe’s deposition testimony, if he did testify at trial, it is highly unlikely that he made any significant changes. Other experts have also testified. Thus far I don’t have either deposition transcripts or trial transcripts; but, I am trying to obtain them in order to post them for the public as well.
One other expert, on whom Robert Beeby, actually relied in formulating his opinions, was Joseph Scalmanini, the Water Conservation District expert. He rendered opinions at trial about the overall health of the Santa Maria Basin. While I don’t have any actual transcript yet of that testimony, I do have a summary that I will post here, because I think it is very significant.
“The picture is generally the same as I just described. There was an increase in water levels from the 1930’s to the 1940’s. There was a progressive decline through the late 1960’s. There has been fluctuations, but let’s say to the 1990’s at least with intermittent recovery of the groundwater basin to close to or at the historically experienced high levels both in the mid-1980’s and the late 1990’s or close to the turn of the century. There is no continuation of the downward trend which was occurring in the part of the 1960’s, and there has been stable to increasing water levels since.” (Reporters Transcript, Scalmanini, at 1257:3-13)
“So, compared to all of those conditions in the context of all of those [coastal basins], the conditions in this basin are uniquely good. I could sort of mentally walk down the coast and say water levels range from a few tens to as much as 100 feet below sea level in a number of coastal basins at or near the coastline. There is history of intrusion in numerous places.
This basin has none of that, never has had and today doesn’t have it. Today, again, in the confines of coastal basins, if you wanted to try to personalize it, others would be envious of the conditions of this basin. It fluctuates, meaning the pumpers can extract water from dry periods from storage without detrimental effects and it replenishes during [wet] cycles and has done that repeatedly for a minimum of the last 35 years [and] actually back through the entire period of available record.
Man has taken it from no development to upwards of 60,000 acres of agricultural land use and the associated pumping and with that that exceeds 100,000 acre feet a year. I’m including now the municipal demand that’s increased with time as well, without, you know, any of the detrimental effects. That’s a pretty good set of basin conditions particularly along a coastline.” (Reporters Transcript, Scalmanini, at 1303:4-26.)
You can read this small portion of his trial testimony directly from the Water Conservation District’s Opposition to Petition of Review, pages 6 to 7, which is posted here. Opposition to Petition for Review
If ever I find the actual transcript, I will certainly post that as well. I think what Mr. Scalmanini and what Mr. Beeby had to say at trial and in deposition is important. And, I think it should be made public so that people can see that there are other opinions out there about the Santa Maria water basin. There are other opinions that suggest the basin, while in the need of management and proper care, is in good over all health. This includes the Nipomo Management Area.
I do concede that there are others who rely on other reports or other data to proclaim that Nipomo is in the midst of the worst water shortage ever, that we are in imminent danger of sea water intrusion. Some of those individuals currently sit on the NCSD Board of Directors. My first question to them, then, is why didn’t you produce those individuals as experts at trial? Why didn’t you submit their opinions in the form of admissible evidence before the court? That is why Nipomo ratepayers have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars for wasn’t it?
The NCSD position at the inception of this trial was that the entire basin was over drafted and had been for years. Yet, the court found that the basin was not in over draft. Just a quick review of the court’s findings, I think are appropriate here as well.
Oral and documentary evidence was introduced by the respective parties, and the matter was argued and submitted for decision. The court, having considered the evidence, having heard the arguments of counsel and being fully advised, issues the following partial statement of decision based upon the evidence presented regarding the issue of Basin overdraft.
Summary of Decision
The court finds based on all the evidence presented in this phase of the trial that the Basin is not presently and has not historically been in a state of hydrologic overdraft. The law defines “overdraft” as extractions in excess of the safe yield of water from the aquifer, which over time will lead to a depletion of the water supply within a groundwater basin as manifested by permanent lowering of the water table. (Court’s Decision Page 4)
Nature of the Evidence for Determining Overdraft
The Appropriators themselves selected the methods and the evidence whereby they attempted to prove overdraft. The court did not define overdraft or attempt to limit the introduction of evidence to any particular definition or scientific or legal approach to the issue, but rather indicated to all the parties that it would base a definition on the various decisions of the California Supreme Court and appellate courts that have considered the issue of overdraft.
For the reasons detailed below, Appropriators have not established by any standard of proof either the Basin’s safe yield or that long-term extractions from the Basin have exceeded any such safe yield so as to manifest overdraft conditions. The court is satisfied both from the law and the evidence that overdraft can be determined, for purposes of resolving the Appropriators’ prescriptive-right claims, by evidence of observed physical conditions in the Basin, such as declining underground water levels, seawater intrusion, declining water quality, or land subsidence over time and by the testimony of expert witnesses who have testified as to the conditions within the basin.
The court is persuaded that evidence of such undesirable results, or in this case the entire absence of such undesirable results, along with credible evidence of stable or surplus conditions, is sufficient to establish that the Basin is not in overdraft. With regard to the nature of the evidence offered at trial, none of the several hydrogeology experts who testified disputed that physical conditions such as those noted above are the type of “undesirable results” of excessive extractions from a groundwater supply that indicate a condition of overdraft. In fact, each expert, whatever his or her party affiliation, devoted a substantial amount of testimony to the asserted presence or absence of just such conditions. It is clear from the evidence that experts in the field of hydrogeology can and routinely do base their conclusions concerning groundwater basins, including the presence or absence of overdraft, on physical evidence of long-term lowering of groundwater levels, seawater intrusion, land subsidence and the like.
Moreover, there is no evidence that recent changes in use in the Basin have so altered the patterns of recharge and water use that the Basin has recently become in a state of overdraft but that and that the undesirable results of this condition have not yet manifested themselves. Experts for the appropriators have testified that in their opinions the basin has been in overdraft for most of the last half century based solely on estimates of extraction and recharge of water. That opinion is not supported by the physical evidence. If the Basin had been in overdraft for the last fifty-three years, one would expect to see evidence of the consequences of such overdraft of such a long duration. In these circumstances, evidence of the Basin’s physical condition is sufficient to resolve whether or not the long-term historical condition of the Basin supports the Appropriators’ claims of overdraft. (Court’s Decision pages 6 to 7).
Landowners’ Expert Evidence
The court is persuaded by a preponderance of the evidence presented by Landowners that, based on all sources of ground water recharge, the Basin is not presently in a state of overdraft, nor has it been historically. Evidence presented by the Landowners is that well levels are at near or above historical highs following precipitation. None of the indicators of overdraft are present.
Water levels in the aquifer have fluctuated greatly since recorded rainfall and well data have been kept. But there has been no permanent loss of storage in the aquifer and the water levels in the Basin as a whole, while falling during dry periods, rebound during wet periods. A normal cycle in the Valley consists of extended periods of dry years followed by an abundance of precipitation that brings water levels back to historically high levels. Water levels, quite naturally, fluctuate among the various areas within the Valley as does precipitation and pumping.
If the Basin had been in overdraft for the last fifty-three years, one would expect to see evidence of the consequences of such overdraft of such a long duration. All the physical evidence is to the contrary. Monitoring wells reflect no serious depletion or lowering of water levels, other wells in the Valley are at normal levels, water quality remains good, and there is no evidence of subsidence. No evidence of seawater intrusion, land subsidence, or water quality deterioration that would be evidence of overdraft has been presented. Some wells in the Nipomo Mesa area do show lowering of water levels that may result from a pumping depression or other cause, and there may be some effects in that portion of the Basin that are not shared Basin-wide, but that is not sufficient in any event to demonstrate Basin-wide overdraft.” (Court’s Decision page 13).
Now, this language was taken from the court’s earlier statement of decision after it had ruled on the over draft issue. It may have changed somewhat; but, not in its primary focus. I certainly welcome anyone to point out any modifications to this part of the court’s opinion or statement of decision, if in fact there are any such changes. Statement of Decision Phase 3
Finally, let me again explain why I give more weight to the evidence presented to and relied upon by the court during the litigation. First, the judge relied on complete expert reports of the entire Santa Maria water basin. The parties to this litigation have retained the top water experts in California, all of whom were as qualified, or more so than the authors of other reports relied upon by others.
These experts conducted extensive studies of the entire Santa Maria water basin. The various experts of the parties were subjected to depositions where the attorneys for each side had an opportunity to examine the experts, their reports, conclusions and analysis under oath. Finally, the leading experts presented their opinions at trial, under oath, and subject to cross examination by the most talented water litigators in California. None of the other reports, opinions, conclusions, analysis that we read about in the media was subjected to this same scrutiny. In fact, standing alone, the other reports are hearsay documents that would never have been admitted into evidence at trial.
I welcome other opinions. I welcome other data. I am happy to post other information as it becomes available. Feel free to leave a comment or email me directly at guy (dot) murray (at) gmail (dot) com.