Calif. Gov Jerry Brown’s administration recently released documents for the Sacramento Delta twin tunnels plan. Opponents immediately vowed to kill it in the new California water wars. The Bay Delta Conservation Plan, advocated by the administration, will shunt water away from the Sacramento Delta, sending it southward to Central Valley agriculture and the gaping, thirsty maw of southern California. Somehow, depriving the Sacramento Delta of water it desperately needs will somehow magically revive it. Or so say tunnel boosters, who are either smoking pixie dust or just outright fibbing. Northern California, including the Bay Area and Sacramento, overwhelmingly opposes the plan.
The BDCP will cost $14 billion. Proponents of the plan haven’t a clue where that money will come from. They sure don’t have the money and the federal government has cut way back on financing state projects. Maybe if they do a few more hits off the pixie dust bong they can come up with workable plan?
The project also needs many billions from the federal government and a pending state water bond issue for its ancillary habitat-restoration aspects. Writing the bond issue next year in the Legislature will be a proxy battle over the tunnels.
Yes, Central Valley agriculture needs water, Farmers there pay for full allotments yet often only receive 20-30% of it. This is grossly unfair. Southern California imports almost all its water. Virtually all the water for both comes from the Delta. (The Imperial Valley in southern California bordering Mexico gets large amounts of water from the Colorado River. Almost all of that goes to agriculture, not cities.)
The problem is, as the LA Times points out, there simply isn’t enough water to go around. Everyone needs to do with less. This is especially true in these times of years-long drought.
California does need a coherent plan for water. However, the BDCP to me simply seems like a water grab from northern California by the rest of the state.