The Delta Plan is open for public comment for another 90 days. The public is expected to voice their concerns on the building water tunnels, larger than any other water conveyance tubes in the world, and figure out how this will affect our communities.
But the problem is that the average California citizen has no clue what a massive project like this would do to them, much less the people in the Delta communities where this construction is taking place.
The Draft Report from the Bay Delta Conservation Plan waiting for public comment specifically says that at least four delta communities could lose “all” access to groundwater for 10 years. That would destroy homes, small businesses and any farming industry in the area.
The reports say it completely destroys some of the delta’s escape routes for flooding during that 10-year period.
This whole project will cost billions of dollars, without a public vote. No one knows for sure how it’s going to be paid for.
Just the cost for the half with the tunnels keeps climbing, and that’s at $67 billion now.
This is not about the Water Bond coming up for a vote in November — that’s the other half of this boondoggle. Reports say that only the stakeholders, the water contractors will pay for the tunnel half.
Really? Around 30 water contractors will carry a $67 billion bill? Over three-quarters of state water contractors service homes and small business communities. How can these water districts pay for this boondoggle without doubling or tripling their water bills to an Alameda home owner, or a Napa County business owner?
It’s important to remember that the tunnels are a state project (State Water Project, SWP), not a federal project (Central Valley Project, CVP).
Seventy-five percent of CVP water from Northern California goes to two major water agencies who supply farmers along the west side of the San Joaquin Valley.
Yes, CVP water will benefit greatly because they will get these tunnels, but they will not be paying for this mammoth construction project. Only SWP contractors will.
Congressman Devin Nunes from Bakersfield, a district that gets a great deal of CVP water, says that this is an issue is about “stupid little fish.” He’s referring to the restrictions on killing smelt fish.
The CVP water contractors (Yes, the CVP who is not paying for this) want to move their pumping station up to Sacramento area and suck out the fresh water without being responsible for the seawater and smelt that backfills the missing water in the delta and the delta communities.
When that happens, the rest of the state has to flush out the delta with what water we have left.
Giving the CVP water contractors, with federal contracts, priority over fresh water makes it “senior” rights over Sacramento River water, and the Northern California counties, with state contracts, will have junior rights.
The Delta plan doesn’t ask for public comment about that, and that’s what we should be talking about.
Pat Snelling lives in Garden Valley, Calif.