“Of the many issues hanging over the proposal to burrow
enormous tunnels under the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and
replumb the hub of California’s water system, the one most
likely to make or break the $25-billion project is money.
From The Sacramento Bee in a column by Executive Editor Joyce
“It affects the largest estuary on the West Coast of the
Americas. It could harm the oldest known bird species. And, while
it is expected to cost a fraction of the price of California’s
proposed high speed rail line, the $25 billion price of the Bay
Delta Conservation Plan still would make it one of the most
expensive state public projects ever.”
“In anticipation of the upcoming Public Review period, which
begins November 2013 and lasts until March 2014, the Bay Delta
Conservation Plan (BDCP) has redesigned and streamlined its
website to be more user-friendly so that information and
documents are easier to find. Redundant pages have been
consolidated to enhance simplicity.
From the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) Switchboard
blog in a post by Kate Poole:
“Last week our Natural Resources Agency, the umbrella agency
responsible for protecting California’s coast, ocean, wildlife
and forests and for managing our water, released a deeply flawed
justification for rejecting a portfolio approach that dozens of
water agencies, local governments and environmental groups
support for planning the future of California’s water supply.
“The Sacramento City Council this week stepped up its critique
of a plan to build two giant water diversion tunnels in the
Delta, warning that it may harm the city’s ability to access
drinking water in the decades ahead.
“The Bay Delta Conservation Plan, as the tunnel project is
formally known, is being pushed by Gov. Jerry Brown and a
contingent of major water suppliers, mostly in Southern
California and the San Joaquin Valley.
From a Somach Simmons & Dunn Environmental Law & Policy
Alert by Daniel Kelly:
“On September 4, 2013, California’s Third Appellate District
issued an opinion holding, among other things, that the State
Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) has the statutory
authority, in the context of an enforcement proceeding, to
determine the validity of riparian and pre-1914 appropriative
water rights. Young, et al. v. SWRCB, No. C068559, 2013 Cal. App.
LEXIS 707 (Cal. 3d App. Dist. Sept.
“An engineer in San Joaquin County Public Works whipped up
these Google illustrations to help people visualize just how
much tunnel ‘muck’ and other material would be unearthed during
Gov. Jerry Brown’s twin tunnels project. …
“In fairness, the state recently announced changes to the
project that could reduce the amount of excavated material.
From the Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA):
“An informational hearing on the 2014 water bond is set for
Sept. 24 in the state Senate.
“The Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee and the
Senate Environmental Quality Committee have slated the joint
hearing, titled “Setting the Stage for a 2014 Water Bond: Where
Are We and Where Do We Need To Go?,” for 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
in room 4203 of the state Capitol.”
From the Bay Delta Conservation Plan Blog, a post by Richard
Stapler, California Natural Resources Agency:
“In an effort to spur discussion about desperately needed
upgrades to California’s water supply delivery system, some water
districts in California along with Natural Resources Defense
Council have urged the study of a tunnel delivery system in the
Delta that is a third of the size of the emerging proposal.
“State officials said this afternoon [Sept. 11] that the
so-called ‘portfolio plan’ proposed by some environmentalists
and water agencies is ‘not a viable solution.’ …
[Secretary for Natural Resources John] Laird’s deputy,
Jerry Meral, is expected to discuss the twin tunnels plan with
the skeptical San Diego authority at a meeting Thursday, along
with dueling economists David Sunding and Jeff Michael.
“In the age of Google Earth and GPS, century-old hand-drawn
maps of the Delta would seem irrelevant.
“In fact, recent state actions in the Delta had so many lawyers
and engineers rifling through documents at the San Joaquin
County Historical Society and Museum that now officials there
have put some of that material online.”
“Normally content to boast about their favorite birds or gaze
at them through binoculars, members of the Lodi Sandhill Crane
Association suddenly find themselves immersed in a fierce
controversy over state water policy.
“The association’s board voted last week to oppose the new
alignment of the governor’s proposed twin tunnels, which would
now run beneath Staten Island, a key wintering home for 15
percent of the Central Valley’s migratory cranes, a threatened
species in California.”
“San Joaquin County Supervisor Larry Ruhstaller said at a meeting
this week that in October he will join the Delta Stewardship
Council, an entity which a number of organizations including the
city of Stockton just happen to be suing right now.