Jerry Brown wants his two big tunnels from the Sacramento Delta so badly he now proposes build them with no guarantee the Delta will be restored or protected. I guess he figures the Delta can’t be saved if his big tunnels divert water, sending it south to big ag and southern California. Thus, Emperor Jerry proclaims Delta fishing and agriculture can just go suck air (literally, since they won’t have much water to pump) so big labor, Wall Street banks, and Californians south of the Delta will benefit. What that, you, ask, what does Wall Street have to do with this? Investment banks will underwrite the billions in bonds. Big labor will build the tunnels. Big ag and all those donors and voters in southern California get more water.
Brown administration is proposing a major and politically risky change: dropping a 50-year guarantee to restore the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta’s environment. A centerpiece of the project, the environmental plan included $8 billion to preserve 100,000 acres of wetlands and dozens of other restoration efforts.
The dramatic course correction, whose details have not yet been made public, comes after biologists at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and other federal agencies told the state they won’t issue permits for the environmental plan. The reasons, the biologists say, is that the state cannot prove it will restore salmon, smelt, sturgeon and other wildlife struggling for survival in the Delta.
The tunnels apparently can’t happen if the State of California has to at least pretend to care for the Delta, so Brown chooses to just ignore the Delta instead. Good luck with that, governor. Northern California will fight this with heat seeking missiles plus the presumed beneficiaries of the tunnels would be no protection against lawsuits and decisions by the feds. And Brown needs them to help finance the water grab.
Meanwhile, water is mysteriously disappearing from the Delta, which has some of the most fertile farmland anywhere.. Well, it’s probably not so mysterious at all. Delta farmers are grabbing it claiming their senior water rights allow it. It certainly doesn’t help that California water laws is so lame that farmers can self-report on what they use or that water law is a convoluted, archaic mess.
A state investigation was launched after complaints from two large agencies that supply water to arid farmland in the Central Valley and to millions of residents as far south as San Diego.
Delta farmers don’t deny using as much water as they need. But they say they’re not stealing it because their history of living at the water’s edge gives them that right. Still, they have been asked to report how much water they’re pumping and to prove their legal rights to it.
I would suspect wholesale theft / diversion of water is happening everywhere in California now, as water is in short supply and the state is comatose about enforcing existing laws. If the drought continues, this trend will increase.