The Sacramento Delta is ground zero for California water wars. California Gov. Jerry Brown will soon announce plans to build massive tunnels to siphon water away from the Delta and to Central Valley cropland and the ever-thirsty Southland.
The tunnels would siphon water using three intakes on the Sacramento River below Freeport, carry it some 60 miles underground to pumping facilities near Tracy, and then use existing canals to move it to farms in the Central Valley and cities such as Los Angeles and San Diego.
California says they’ll have the deepest concern for the health of the Delta and its fish population, including salmon, and will study and ponder this deeply as they build the canal.
Precisely how much water is diverted will depend on what is determined by the scientific studies that will accompany construction, she said.
This approach does not fill me with great hope that the state cares much about the Delta. Environmentalists, commercial fishermen, and Delta farmers say the effect on fish and the environment needs to be determined before the construction starts. I agree.
[Delta farmers] now irrigate with water that is cleansed as it flows through the delta. If the tunnel project moves ahead, they will use water that has more salts and toxins that could kill or damage crops.
The poject, if it happens, will be mostly funded by a $11 billion oft-delayed water bond scheduled to be on the ballot on 2014. Given the vagueness of the current plans it’s a cetainty the project will cost way more than that.
Gentlemen, start your lawsuits.