Delta group says it has proof the governor’s tunnels are a water grab
October 28, 2015 9:00pm
After years of warning that the twin water tunnels proposed by Gov. Edmund Brown Jr. are little more than a water grab to benefit southern California, the anti-tunnel group Restore the Delta says it’s found the smoking gun.
And it says it found it in plain sight as a letter meant for the public comments about the project’s revised environmental impact report.
It says the letter “reveals the true goals of agricultural water exporters -- unlimited water supplies, even if it violates federal Endangered Species and Clean Water Acts.”
If built, the twin water tunnels, each wide enough in diameter to allow a light plane to fly through them, would suck comparatively clean water out of the Sacramento River before it could flow into the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
The water would be piped about 35 miles to the head ends of the State Water Project and the federal Central Valley Project to be shipped by irrigation canals and pumps to parts of the San Joaquin Valley, Silicon Valley and Southern California.
The letter filed by the Kern County Water Agency calls for greater deliveries for the State Water Project and allowing for "adaptive management" with limited adjustments to the water supply of the project, says Restore the Delta.
It calls for taxpayers to pick up the tab for water purchases through Proposition 1 money and no limits on the amount of water that the tunnels could carry during the springtime. At full capacity, the two tunnels would be able to handle enough water to fill the Los Angeles Coliseum in less than an hour.
The Kern County Water Agency also admits that water from the twin tunnels, without taxpayers picking up the cost, are not economically feasible.
“Additional efforts need to be taken to reduce the cost of the Project, protect the Project’s yield, and improve the likelihood that the Project will be constructed and implemented in a manner that improves water supplies at an affordable cost,” says the letter, dated October 30.
Restore the Delta smells a rat.
“In other words, the KCWA demands a project that defies both nature and the law. It also exposes the big lie that BDCP officials and Governor Brown’s office have used to mollify San Francisco Bay-Delta residents and fishing communities who depend on a healthy Delta ecosystem,” the group says.
It also says the Kern County Water Association comment reveals what economist Jeffrey Michael from the University of the Pacific has pointed out repeatedly -- the project is not cost effective for farmers without guaranteed water supply.
“Sadly, this letter confirms what we have always suspected,” says Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla of Restore the Delta. “The Tunnels are simply a water grab by Big Ag in the Southern San Joaquin Valley. To get what they want, they are willing to sacrifice the San Francisco Bay-Delta, its residents, farmers, and endangered species.”