California Government Releases Delta Water Tunnel Plans
SACRAMENTO, CA - The Brown Administration has made public its plans for the construction of two delta tunnels that would transfer water from the Sacramento River to the southern region of the state.
“We are a step closer to finally modernizing our 50-year-old water conveyance system in the Delta and improving the reliability and sustainability of water supplies for California,” Mark Cowin, Director for the Department of Water Resources, said in a written statement, according to the Record Net.
The controversial $15 billion project would siphon water from the northern river, serving as a safeguard in case the Delta levees fail, according to the report. The new plans released last week address environmental concerns that have been raised in relation to the endeavor, with state officials stating that the redesign would reduce impacts on the landscape, improving conditions for endangered fish while enhancing water supplies for millions of Southern Californians.
Some environmentalists remain wary, however, despite the latest rewrite.
“They cannot get away from the inescapable fact that taking Sacramento River water under the Delta will exacerbate existing water quality conditions,” Bill Jennings of the Stockton-based California Sportfishing Protection Alliance said, according to the Record. “There is no way you can get around that.”
Despite the continued controversy, the Sacramento Bee still calls the publication a milestone for being made available after so much discussion.
“It’s a big deal,” Jeffrey Kightlinger, General Manager of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and one of the agencies that support the government's plan, told the Bee.
The idea for the two trans-California tunnels stems from an initial idea rejected by voters in 1982 and has been revisited by present governments since 2006. The plan proposed in December of 2013 contained 34,000 pages and reawakened the debate between environmental concerns and drought measures.
Record Net reported that anyone who wishes to be present for public comments and discussions can attend two meetings to be held in coming weeks, either on July 28th, from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Sheraton Grand Sacramento Hotel, 1230 J. St. in Sacramento, CA, or on July 29th, from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Jean Harvie Senior and Community Center, 14273 River Road in Walnut Grove, CA.