Monday, July 30, 2012

Proposed Delta water transport improvement to southern California

Win, win.  No pumping is good for fishes and the ecosystem.  The design is said to be more reliable in transporting piped water to inland agriculture, in both northern and southern California. However, the project is expensive, and many northern California Legislators and civic interests don't yet like the plan.

"California Gov. Jerry Brown on Wednesday endorsed a $14 billion plan to sharply increase water supplies to parched Southern California, in a move that would remake the water map in the semi-arid state.  
Delta Science Center:  the levee system

The plan, which Mr. Brown backed alongside U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, involves two massive tunnels to divert water from wet Northern California to the south. It was immediately assailed by a broad range of interest groups, which denounced it as too expensive and potentially detrimental to the environment and to the regional economies that would be affected.

....  Officials of the Brown administration said studies already conducted show that the delta's environment would be improved, adding that the plan would be subject to rigorous additional analysis as part of state and federal environmental reviews. Many water users south of the delta support the tunnel plan and said time is of the essence."  The Wall Street Journal, US/Jim Carlton, 7/25/12.  "California pushes water-tunnel plan."  Read Article.  Note:  the Wall Street Journal restricts usage, and if you have an access problem, just google it. 

"....  The $14 billion blueprint envisions both the physical and psychological re-engineering of California’s plumbing, including the construction of twin 35-mile-long pipelines, each about as wide as a three-lane highway, that would tap river water from a more northerly, less polluted location. The pipelines would deliver the water straight to the conveyances in the south, largely replacing a system that pumps water from the murkier southern part of the 500,000-acre delta, disturbing the fragile ecosystem.  It also includes financial incentives for consumers of water — municipalities and farming interests — to use less. 

....  The secretary and Mr. Brown emphasized that the new system would be a hedge against natural disasters like flooding, earthquakes or sea level rise that could collapse crucial levees and disrupt water supplies. Mr. Salazar said the water system was “at constant risk of failure.” Mr. Brown added: “We know there are a couple of big issues, earthquakes and climate change. And this facility is absolutely essential to deal with both of them.”

....  The failure to solve this dilemma has been the catalyst for some willingness to compromise, since most of the stakeholders agree that the current situation is untenable. Decisions in recent years by the federal Fish and Wildlife Service and the courts to ensure there is enough water for fish have led to water delivery cutbacks in drought years." The New York Times, US/Felicity Barringer and Jennifer Medina, 7/25/12.  "California envisions fix to water distribution."  Read Article.  

New York Times article notes.  1) The $14 billion blueprint article link is the US Department of Interior Press release about the Bay Delta conservation plan.  2) Representative Jackie Speier stated she thought moving forward on this project was a "rush to construction", without enough science. 

Related articles - Sacramento Business Journal, 7/25/12, the efficient story.  And  San Francisco Chronicle, 7/28/12, the shaggy story.

Posted by Kathy Meeh

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