San Joaquin County Supervisor Larry Ruhstaller, the newest member of the Delta Stewardship Council (Council), joins the Council with more than 15 years of experience as a local elected official working with state and federal agencies on Delta, flood protection, and water resources issues – and as chair of the San Joaquin Flood Control Agency.
“After all these years in water policy, one resounding lesson is clear: the more I learn about water, the more I know I don’t know,” said Ruhstaller, who is resolute about bringing his fervent adoration of the Delta to the Council. “I’ve lived in the Delta region for most of my life and I deeply care about its future.”
The Council is composed of members who come from different parts of the state. As a third generation resident of Stockton, Ruhstaller is excited about the opportunity to include what he calls “the Delta voice” to the Council’s proceedings. “The DSC has been one of the few forums for the (five) Delta Counties (San Joaquin, Solano, Contra Costa, Yolo, and Sacramento) to advocate for full, fair, and effective inclusion in all of the discussions concerning the Delta.”
Ruhstaller was appointed to the Council in October 2013 when he replaced former Council member Don Nottoli as chair of the Delta Protection Commission. The Delta Reform Act requires that one of the Council’s seven members be the current chair of the DPC. He says he’s ready to roll up his sleeves and take on the Council’s task of “solving the ongoing conflicts surrounding California water.”
“We in California have been pretty lucky so far, but the chickens are coming home to roost,” said Ruhstaller. “When California has a wet year, everybody has their water demands met. But, if we have one or two dry years, the system begins to show signs of stress.”
Ruhstaller expects to use his new position to regularly voice his concerns about water policy in California. He believes the state has “over-allocated, over-promised and over-subscribed” the available water supply. And when asked what are the greatest challenges the Council will face, he answers with questions of his own.
“How do we fairly allocate this scarce, over-allocated resource?” asks Ruhstaller. “How can the state find the highest and best use of this limited resource? Can it be accomplished without creating winners and losers?”
Ruhstaller is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley where he earned his Bachelors of Arts in US History with emphasis in US city planning. He was a Lieutenant JG in the U.S. Navy and a two-term Councilman for the City of Stockton from 1997-2004. His community involvement includes service as Chairman of the Stockton Asparagus Festival, President of the Board of Directors of the Stockton Visitors and Convention Bureau, and is a member of numerous clubs and associations.
To learn more about Council member Larry Ruhstaller, visit his bio on the DSC website, or join the Council at one of its monthly meetings.