Saturday, May 2, 2015

California water tunnels move forward, ditch conservation hang up

Los Angeles Times/Bettina Boxall, Reporter, 4/30/15. "Giant tunnels planned for delta 'must move forward,' Brown says."

....  Gov. Jerry Brown’s announcement Thursday that the state is scaling back part of a long-planned project to restore more than 100,000 acres of fish and wildlife habitat and re-engineer the delta was a sign of how elusive that fix remains.

Image result for California water tunnels delta picture
Twin underground water tunnels near highway 5,
either before or following plan revisions
Image result for California water tunnels delta picture
Proposed 30-mile underground
twin water tunnels
....  The state is still proposing to build a new diversion point on the Sacramento River in the north delta. It would feed two proposed 30-mile tunnels that would carry water to existing delta pumps and southbound aqueducts.  ....  “This is an imperative. It must move forward,” Brown said of the project. “This is not just some piece of rhetoric … this is a serious effort on the part of the federal authorities, state authorities.”

....  The premise of the conservation plan was that a new diversion system and extensive habitat restoration would improve delta conditions, boost the populations of imperiled fish and ease limits on exports.  But the project, in the planning stages for nearly nine years, has encountered delays and heated opposition from delta growers and some environmentalists who argue the tunnels will inevitably become a vehicle to take more water from the delta’s failing ecosystem.  Read article. 

Related, article. The Daily Journal/John Scott/Fresno Reporter (and Janie), 5/1/15. "Governor under fire over delta:  Environmentalists criticize changes." "OAKLAND — Environmentalists on Thursday criticized a proposal by Gov. Jerry Brown to dramatically scale back wildlife habitat restoration involved in a massive tunnel project intended to channel fresh water around California’s delta. The revision calls for restoring 30,000 acres of wildlife habitat, down from an initial 100,000 acres.  Brown defended the revised plan, saying it would accelerate the pace of efforts to revive habitat on the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta while fixing the state’s aging water infrastructure. 

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Kudos Gov.Jerry Brown:
nine (9) years, and done!
.... “If somebody has a better alternative, certainly we’ll hear it,” Brown said.  ....  The water currently irrigates 3 million acres of farmland in the Central Valley and serves 25 million people as far south as San Diego. The projected cost of the tunnels is $15 billion. .... Funds for the restoration effort will come from a variety of sources, with $75 million from a water bond voters approved in November, officials said. Between $20 million and $30 million will come from cap-and-trade funds, and the rest will come through state budget allocations."

Related, opposition coalition. "Families Protecting the Valley", 4/30/15.  One eco-partner of several:  The Center for Biological Diversity, of course. "California’s $25 billion twin tunnels project to divert water from the San Francisco Bay-Delta to Southern California and industrial agribusinesses no longer includes provisions to protect habitat for endangered salmon and smelt and more than 50 other imperiled species. The Brown administration has now removed the habitat conservation component from the project, which is now focused solely on tunnel building." 

Related, opposition petition. EPIC Take Action petition,"Stop the Bay Delta twin-tunnels project, and protect the pristine Northern California Watersheds." "The Environmental Protection Information Center (EPIC) works to protect and restore ancient forests, watersheds, coastal estuaries, and native species in Northern California. EPIC uses an integrated, science-based approach, combining public education, citizen advocacy, and strategic litigation."

Note graphics.  Twin-tunnels rendering from the EPIC petition (above). The proposed tunnel locations from KCRA 3, 8/15/13,"Changes proposed to California twin tunnel project." Green check "done" from Team Platform.

Posted by Kathy Meeh


Anonymous said...

Eliminate the bureaucratic double speak and this just says steal more water and send it down South.

Governor Moon Beam might come across as a bleeding heart liberal but the developers and Southern California are in his pocket deep.

Politicians never do anything for the common good, it's all about $$

Anonymous said...

Great article on the complex water problem in SoCal in this month's New Yorker. 20th century visionaries (and profiteers) turned that desert into a garden, but it's not so easy to water that garden these days.

Kathy Meeh said...

137, consider sending the article to with your name, any picture, any comments or captions, and Steve Sinai (Blogmaster) will post that.

I found an excellent Los Angeles Times article earlier today about how Israel deals with permanent drought conditions. Eventually that article will be posted. (The USA, including California and other climate impacted States, may learn from the experience of other countries).