Topic: Bay Delta Conservation Plan

Overview

Bay Delta Conservation Plan

The Bay Delta Conservation Plan is a process for obtaining long-term project permits for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta centering on the equal goals of conservation of species and helping to improve water supplies and delivery.

The BDCP aims to separate its water delivery system from Delta freshwater flows and restore thousands of acres of habitat, restore river flows to more natural patterns and address issues affecting the health of fish populations.

As part of the water conveyance, in 2013, California Gov. Jerry Brown also proposed constructing two $25 billion tunnels to divert Sacramento River water underneath the Delta and then deliver the water to the Central Valley and Southern California.

If approved, the BDCP would be implemented over the next 50 years and construction of the tunnels would not begin for another 10 to 15 years.

Aquafornia news CalMatters

Opinion: Independent science to solve Delta water problems is slipping away

When the legal battle over employees vs. contractors wrapped up in California, no one thought it could throw a wrench into the long-established independence of the scientific body charged with protecting a precious California resource in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta: water. That is, however, precisely what happened. State counsel advised members of the Delta Independent Science Board that they were employees, contrary to the independent status required by the board. This threatens the independent science on which our state’s water decisions depend.
-Written by Phil Isenberg, the founding chair of the Delta Stewardship Council, and David Guy, president of the Northern California Water Association.

Aquafornia news Mercury News

Opinion: How California’s leaders can end the salmon slaughter

Our leaders must take bold action to adapt to our new reality and create a system that can support healthy rivers and wildlife, communities with access to safe drinking water and a thriving agricultural economy. Unfortunately, that’s not what we’re seeing today. The state’s water regulators are draining our reservoirs and depleting our rivers to deliver vast volumes of water to a small number of powerful agricultural interests during a historically dry year. Protecting fish and wildlife and water quality for Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta communities does not mean eliminating agriculture in the Central Valley. 
-Written by Rachel Zwillinger, water policy advisor for Defenders of Wildlife in Sacramento.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Delta Stewardship Council: Non-native species in the Delta, contemplating the future of the DISB, and Regional San treatment plant upgrade

At the May meeting of the Delta Stewardship Council, Dr. Steve Brandt, Chair of the Delta Independent Science Board, provided a brief background on the Delta Independent Science Board, reported on the Board’s recently completed review on non-native species in the Delta, and discussed the Board’s approach going forward in light of the recent compensation issues.  Also, Dr. Laurel Larsen spotlighted a recent study looking at the effects of the Sacramento Regional Sanitation District plant upgrade on phytoplankton.

Aquafornia news Daily Republic

Group urges continued access to Liberty Island Ecological Reserve

The state plans to break [a levee at Shag Slough] in nine locations to create 3,000 acres of tidal wetlands. It has asked the county to vacate that section of Liberty Island Road that runs atop the levee. Taylor Dahlke, the leader of a group fighting to maintain land access to Shag Slough, the Liberty Island Ecological Reserve and the region in general told the Delta Stewardship Council on Thursday night that the state proposal violates the Delta Plan.

Aquafornia news California Water Research

Blog: Delta Stewardship Council guts independent peer review in the Delta Science Program

The seven members of the Delta Stewardship Council were seated in 2010. The Council appointed ten prominent scientists to the Delta ISB. Over the next decade, the Delta ISB produced over 30 scientific reviews, averaging over 3,000 hours of work per year. But in 2020, the work of the Delta ISB stalled. The Delta Stewardship Council reduced funding for the Delta ISB by over 90%. 

Aquafornia news Center for California Water Resources Policy and Management

Blog: Captive breeding of Delta smelt: Worthy experiment or well-intended folly?

Delta smelt have nearly ceased to appear in “pelagic” fish surveys carried out in their narrow geographic range in the upper San Francisco Estuary. As trawl-generated index values for delta smelt have declined over the past quarter century – understand there is no reliable estimate of the size of the delta smelt population — the chorus of voices advocating for captive rearing and releases of the species has grown louder. 

Aquafornia news Reuters

As drought dries California rivers, salmon take truck rides to sea

During a typical spring, the silver young salmon swimming in long tanks at the Nimbus Fish Hatchery east of Sacramento would be released into the American River and then make their way out to the Pacific Ocean to grow to adulthood. But with extreme drought now gripping California and much of West Coast, the rivers are too warm for the salmon to survive. This week, the 3.5-inch (90-mm) smolt, as the young fish are known, embarked on a much different journey when they were loaded on to trucks and driven to the San Francisco Bay for release into cooler waters.

Related article:

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Thursday Top of the Scroll: Fears of a massive salmon die-off this summer in Sacramento River water conflict

An entire run of endangered winter-run chinook salmon, as well as the fall-run salmon that make up the core of the California fishery, are in danger of being wiped out this year if the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation keeps diverting water to farmers at its current rate. With state water resources constrained by the extreme drought, that’s the alarm that environmental, fishing and tribal groups are sounding after reports show the Sacramento River will reach dangerous temperatures during spawning season, based on federal scientific scenarios that analyze the bureau’s planned water releases. 

Aquafornia news Modesto Bee

Editorial: Gov. Newsom must resolve California and Stanislaus water wars

Don’t be fooled. Governor Gavin Newsom’s decision Monday to declare drought in most of California, including here, is no reason for most farmers in Stanislaus County to break out the party hats. They know full well that words on a declaration will not generate an extra drop of water for their orchards and row crops. They also know that a drought declaration could take some power over the water we do have from our locally elected irrigation leaders — who represent institutions guiding us through periodic droughts for more than 100 years — and hand it to nonelected Sacramento bureaucrats.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Sacramento News & Review

Opinion: Recall politics? No thanks, because the Delta keeps losing either way

Today’s commentary breaks my heart.  Why?  Because Restore the Delta is focused on water quality issues, flood control issues, future planning, and training the next generation of local water experts – for that is where hope exists.  We are focused on the future because in some ways we have become very cynical about any positive meaningful change to Delta management presently — from the lack of care at the highest levels of government, to local pockets of Delta communities that will not acknowledge the deterioration of the estuary before their eyes.

-Written by Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, who serves on the Executive Committee at Large for Restore the Delta. 

Aquafornia news Delta Stewardship Council

News release: Virginia Madueño appointed to the Delta Stewardship Council

California Governor Gavin Newsom has appointed Virginia Madueño to serve as a member of the Delta Stewardship Council (Council) effective April 14, 2021. The compensation for this position is $50,497.

Aquafornia news Daily Republic

Changes to Shasta water release designed to protect salmon

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation will begin releasing warmer water from the upper layers of the Shasta Reservoir directly into the Sacramento River to maintain flows, while saving colder water for the winter-run Chinook salmon migration.

Related article: 

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Harmful algal blooms in the Delta (and elsewhere)

Harmful algal blooms (or HABs) occur when colonies of algae, under the right conditions, grow out of control and produce toxic or harmful effects on people, fish, shellfish, marine mammals, and birds. Every U.S. coastal and Great Lakes state experiences harmful algal blooms. In California, reports of harmful algal blooms have increased from 91 in 2016 to 241 in 2019. In 2020, Stockton experienced a severe harmful algal bloom; it marked the first year that algal blooms spread into the San Joaquin and Calaveras Rivers so early in the summer and fall months. Drought and heat are factors that increase harmful algal blooms …

Aquafornia news Sacramento News & Review

Delta tunnel authority changes leaders as Newsom fights the recall by turning to billionaire champions of the project

The little-known Joint Powers Authority charged with getting the embattled Delta tunnel across its finish line recently changed executive directors, marking an exit for Kathryn Mallon, who had stirred controversy for her exorbitant pay and alleged pressuring of a citizens advisory committee to work through the most dangerous part of the pandemic. Meanwhile, as California Governor Gavin Newsom begins campaigning against the effort to remove him from office, he’s soliciting huge donations from the same south-state barons of agriculture who have promoted the environmentally fraught tunnel concept for years.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

SF Baykeeper sues Biden administration to list local longfin smelt as endangered species

A tiny silver fish few people in the Bay Area have heard of could be a new symbol of the state’s continuing battle over water resources. San Francisco Baykeeper sued the Biden administration on Thursday to list the local population of longfin smelt as an endangered species. The environmental group’s legal action comes nine years after the federal government first declared that the fish warranted that status. Once an important source of food for marine mammals, birds and chinook salmon, the local population of the longfin smelt has dropped by 99.9% since the 1980s. Scientists and environmentalists say that reduction is a direct result of too much water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin river system being diverted to farms and other water users rather than flowing through the bay to the Pacific.

Aquafornia news Manteca Bulletin

SSJID, OID still waiting for federal approval of plan to help threatened fish & stressed farmers

OID and SSJID … have invested considerable money into improving salmon habitat on the Stanislaus River and as well as conservation measures aimed at reducing growers’ use of water — have proposed pushing the spring pulse flow from an anticipated 1,400 cfs at Vernalis to almost 3,000 cfs. … The SSJID and OID have also worked with the San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority and State Water Contractors that may get only 5 percent of the water they need from the Bureau this year to purchase the [water] by diverting it once it enters the Delta.  

Aquafornia news Restore the Delta

Blog: The dam problem for the Bay-Delta estuary

The dams that are built in the Sacramento and San Joaquin River Watershed protect thousands of people and billions of dollar’s worth of agriculture but they are far too old and far too many of them need repair. Some unnecessary dams are drying rivers and putting business in front of the environment.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

CA Water Commission: Ensuring the reliability of the State Water Project, Part 1: Strategic Priorities and Programs

One of the California Water Commission’s statutory responsibilities is to conduct an annual review of the construction and operation of the State Water Project and make a report on its findings to the Department of Water Resources and the Legislature, with any recommendations it may have.  Having just finished the 2020 State Water Project review, the Commission has launched its 2021 State Water Project review with a theme focused on creating a resilient State Water Project by addressing climate change and aging infrastructure to provide multiple benefits for California. 

Aquafornia news Delta Stewardship Council

Blog: Complexities – Thinking about the San Francisco Estuary during the 2021 Bay-Delta Science Conference

In anticipation of this week’s Bay-Delta Science Conference, I thought it would be useful to consider some of what it takes to understand a complex ecosystem like an estuary and to encourage everyone working in the San Francisco Estuary – scientists, policymakers, and local stakeholders – to continue shifting our ecosystem management focus from the simple to the complex. I’ll explain why in a moment. Here are four suggestions for improving ecosystem management in the San Francisco Bay-Delta:

Aquafornia news California Department of Justice

News release: California Department of Justice expresses concern over proposal to allow exploratory drilling in the Suisun Marsh

The California Department of Justice (DOJ) filed comments with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Army Corps) regarding Sunset Exploration’s proposal to drill for natural gas in the Suisun Marsh. Located in the San Francisco Bay-Delta, this 88,000-acre wetland is home to a number of endangered and threatened species, including California Ridgway’s rail, black rail, and Chinook salmon – and is just a few short miles from environmental justice communities in Solano County…. DOJ urges the Army Corps to fully consider the proposal’s significant environmental impacts, including harm to these communities and protected species, as well as increased greenhouse gas emissions, before deciding whether to grant the requested permit.

Aquafornia news CalMatters

Opinion: With San Francisco Bay on life support, Newsom withholds the cure

San Francisco Bay’s life support systems are unravelling quickly, and a wealth of science indicates that unsustainable water diversions are driving this estuary’s demise. Yet, with another drought looming, federal and state water managers still plan to divert large amounts of water to their contractors and drain upstream reservoirs this summer. Meanwhile, the state’s most powerful water districts are preparing yet another proposal to maintain excessive water diversions for the long-term. By delaying reforms that the law requires and that science indicates are necessary, Gov. Gavin Newsom encourages wasteful water practices that jeopardize the Bay and make the state’s water future precarious. 
-Written by Jon Rosenfield, a senior scientist for SF Baykeeper.

Aquafornia news Delta Stewardship Council

Council hires new Chief Deputy Executive Officer

The Delta Stewardship Council (Council) announced the hiring of Ryan Stanbra, the Council’s legislative and policy advisor, to the key post of chief deputy executive officer. … Appointed by Governor Brown in 2015, Ryan joined the Council in the role of legislative and policy advisor. He has played a pivotal role in advising on critical Council initiatives like implementation of reduced reliance on the Delta, interagency coordination and outreach for the Delta Levees Investment Strategy, increasing funding for critical science investments, and more. He has served in the acting chief deputy executive officer role since January.

Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

April Fools Blog: Looking for a new challenge? Retrain as a Delta Smelt

The Federal government is beginning a program for the unemployed to retrain as much-needed Delta Smelt.  Following a two-day course, candidates will learn to: Seek out turbid waters; Spawn in sand at secret locations; Surf the tides; Make themselves present for counting in mid-water trawls. Major California water projects and water users are preparing to hire successful graduates for 1-2 year non-renewable contracts. 

Aquafornia news Water Education Foundation

Announcement: Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta bundle features map and layperson’s guide at a special price

Explore the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, one of California’s most vital ecological and water resources, with a special discounted education bundle that includes our brand-new Delta Map and our recently updated Layperson’s Guide to the Delta. Purchased separately, the map retails for $20 and the guide sells for $15. But with our Delta Education Bundle you can get both items for just $30.

Aquafornia news NRDC

Blog: California and feds still plan to drain reservoirs & kill salmon

Updated water supply allocations announced last week would still drain upstream reservoirs in order to deliver 4.5 million acre feet of water to the contractors of the federal Central Valley Project (CVP) and State Water Project (SWP), devastating fish and wildlife. This week, the fisheries biologists at the National Marine Fisheries Service projected that these planned operations are likely to result in lethal water temperatures that will kill 89% of endangered winter-run Chinook salmon below Shasta Dam this year. This mortality estimate is even worse than what was observed in 2014 and 2015, when salmon populations were devastated by warm water in their spawning grounds. 

Aquafornia news San Francisco Estuary Magazine

Friday Top of the Scroll: Delta study predicts stronger floods and less water supply

[F]or those who live in the legal Delta zone – some 630,000 people – the braided weave of the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers and their maze of associated wetlands and levees provides a place of home, community, and recreation. And, as a recent study by the Delta Stewardship Council shows, climate change is tugging on the watery thread holding it all together. … The council’s overview reveals a grim outlook for the millions of people that are tethered to the region’s water: drought similar to that experienced in 2012-2016 will be five to seven times more likely by 2050. This will result in more severe and frequent water shortages and, as the report bluntly states, “lower reliability of Delta water exports.”

Related article:

Aquafornia news San Francisco Estuary Magazine

Flow rules stalled as tunnel advances

As California stares down the barrel of yet another dry year, alarm bells are already ringing over conditions in the Delta. Environmental groups, fishermen, tribes, and a host of others are calling on the State Water Resources Control Board to complete and implement a long-delayed update to the Water Quality Control Plan for the Bay and Delta (Bay-Delta Plan), to protect the imperiled ecosystem. At the same time, plans for a structure with the potential to divert more water than ever to southern cities and farms are creeping ahead. 

Aquafornia news Northern California Water Association

Blog: The collaborative habitat creator

When Ann Hayden first joined EDF in 2002, shortly after finishing her own stint in the Peace Corps in Belize and graduate school where she studied environmental science and management, she was immediately thrown into one of California’s thorniest water debates: the restoration of the Sacramento and San Joaquin Bay-Delta, the hub of the state’s water supply. She hit the jackpot when she was hired by Tom Graff, founder of EDF’s California office and a renowned water lawyer, and Spreck Rosekrans, who garnered the respect of the water community for his ability to understand the state’s hypercomplex water operations.

Aquafornia news The Mercury News

Editorial: Newsom should kill plan to drain state reservoirs

On the tail end of the second dry winter in a row, with water almost certain to be in short supply this summer, California water officials are apparently planning to largely drain the equivalent of the state’s two largest reservoirs to satisfy the thirst of water-wasting farmers. Gov. Gavin Newsom must stop this irresponsible plan, which threatens the environmental health of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and the water supply for about one-third of the Bay Area residents. We should be saving water, not wasting it. 

Aquafornia news The (Vacaville) Reporter

Online public meeting planned to discuss groundwater sustainability

A part of the natural water cycle, groundwater is an important element of California’s water supply, especially in the Central Valley, where one in four people rely on it entirely. It is an especially important resource in the Solano Subbasin, a geographic area that includes Dixon, parts of Vacaville, Elmira, Rio Vista, unincorporated Winters, Davis, the Montezuma Hills, Isleton, Sherman Island and Walnut Grove. And every quarter, the Solano Subbasin Groundwater Sustainability Agency Collaborative, aka the Solano Collaborative, hosts a Community Advisory Committee meeting and will so again from 3 to 5 p.m. Wednesday. 

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: Improving the health of California’s freshwater ecosystems

California’s rivers, wetlands, and other freshwater ecosystems are in poor health. Water management practices, pollution, habitat change, invasive species, and a changing climate have all taken a toll, leaving many native species in dire straits. And the current approach for managing freshwater ecosystems is not working. In this video Jeff Mount, senior fellow at the PPIC Water Policy Center, discusses the many benefits these ecosystems bring to California, and outlines a path for improving their condition to secure these benefits for future generations.

Aquafornia news WHYY

A tiny fish is on the brink of extinction. Does it matter that another just like it is thriving?

[S]cientists were having a hard time telling delta smelt apart from a fish species from Japan called wakasagi. … Wakasagi were introduced by the government in the 1950s. There’s no shortage of them here or in Japan. Especially when they’re young, to the naked eye they look virtually identical to deltas. They’re so similar, in fact, to the nearly extinct fish that scientists were worried about hybridization — that this plentiful species and the delta smelt would start hooking up, making mixed-species fish babies.

Aquafornia news Santa Clarita Magazine

Christy Smith appointed to Delta Stewardship Council

Former Assemblymember Christy Smith announced that she has been appointed by Speaker Anthony Rendon to serve on the Delta Stewardship Council. … The Council was created to advance the state’s coequal goals for the Delta – a more reliable statewide water supply and a healthy and protected ecosystem, both achieved in a manner that protects and enhances the unique characteristics of the Delta as an evolving place.

Aquafornia news Delta Stewardship Council

Blog: Delta adapts – Assessing climate change vulnerabilities

As Executive Officer Jessica R. Pearson identified in her December blog on the Delta Adapts initiative, “social vulnerability means that a person, household, or community has a heightened sensitivity to the climate hazards and/or a decreased ability to adapt to those hazards.” With an eye toward social vulnerability and environmental justice along with the coequal goals in mind, we launched our Delta Adapts climate change resilience initiative in 2018. 

Aquafornia news The Reporter

New federal law may boost Delta, Bay restoration, protection

The major Northern California waterways may be getting a renewed lease on their ecological and economic lives, as federal support for protection and restoration of the San Francisco Bay-Delta Estuary could nearly double in coming years following enactment last month of the Protect and Restore America’s Estuaries Act. As one of 28 “estuaries of national significance” eligible for funding through the new law, the San Francisco Estuary and other estuaries along every U.S. coast each may now receive as much as $1 million a year in federal aid…

Aquafornia news Delta Stewardship Council

Blog: Reflections on 2020 as We Move Forward in 2021

The year 2020 was an earth-shaking year that forced us to examine what really matters in our lives. Although much of the year was arduous, I’m heartened by our fortitude, tenacity, and professionalism, which allowed us to advance California’s coequal goals. At the Council, our information technology department was vital to our rapid transition to teleworking. In response to Governor Newsom’s March 19 stay at home order, our team transitioned from almost zero teleworking to 100 percent by April. This timely transition allowed us to focus on initiatives imperative to implementing the Delta Plan.

Aquafornia news Palo Alto Online

Going against the flow, City Council member draws rebukes for position on water plan

When Palo Alto officials adopted a position in 2018 in support of the Bay-Delta Plan, which aims to protect the Yosemite ecosystem by restricting how much water cities can draw from the San Joaquin River and its tributaries, they knew were swimming against the prevalent political tide. Prompted by water conservationists and environmentalists, the City Council went against recommendations from the city’s Utilities Department staff and its water supplier, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, which relies on the Tuolumne River for much of its water. 

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: Could this obscure California agency derail Jerry Brown’s Delta tunnels?

On Dec. 20, the Delta Stewardship Council will vote to determine whether the tunnels project — officially known as California WaterFix — complies with what’s known as the “Delta Plan,” a set of policy goals, mandated by state law, that put protection and restoration of the fragile estuary’s eco-system on an equal footing with more reliable water supplies.

Aquafornia news California Magazine

Tunnel Vision: This water plan might make a splash in the Delta

A long-debated water plan that could change the course—literally—of water in California, will be up for a vote by the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) next month. Originally scheduled for November, the vote has been postponed until December 11, per California Gov. Jerry Brown and Gov.-elect Gavin Newson’s request.

As He Steps Aside, Tim Quinn Talks About ‘Adversarialists,’ Collaboration and Hope For Solving the State’s Tough Water Issues
WESTERN WATER Q&A: Tim Quinn, retiring executive director of Association of California Water Agencies

ACWA Executive Director Tim Quinn  with a report produced by Association of California Water Agencies on  sustainable groundwater management.  (Source:  Association of California Water Agencies)In the universe of California water, Tim Quinn is a professor emeritus. Quinn has seen — and been a key player in — a lot of major California water issues since he began his water career 40 years ago as a young economist with the Rand Corporation, then later as deputy general manager with the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, and finally as executive director of the Association of California Water Agencies. In December, the 66-year-old will retire from ACWA.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: California tunnels project circling the drain after elections

This month’s elections may have mortally wounded California’s chances for a long-delayed $23 billion water tunnel project. … The project’s biggest cheerleader, Gov. Jerry Brown (D), is leaving office because of term limits and his successor, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), lacks’ Brown’s enthusiasm for the tunnels.

Aquafornia news CALmatters

The 2018 election is over, let the governing begin
Also awaiting Newsom? Delta tunnel politics

Nine Democratic legislators representing the the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta are calling on the Trump administration to deny California’s request for a $1.6 billion loan to help pay for the twin tunnel project championed by Gov. Jerry Brown.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: Massive California water tunnel project forges ahead on several fronts

The spring and summer of 2018 saw frenzied activity around California WaterFix, the latest iteration of a decades-long, on-again-off-again effort to convey fresh water from the Sacramento River to the South Delta export pumps while bypassing the Delta itself. Governor Jerry Brown has made WaterFix a top priority, but as his administration heads into its final months, the project – one of the largest infrastructure projects in state history – still faces a raft of uncertainties.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Commentary: What Gavin Newsom and John Cox didn’t talk about in their only head-to-head debate

If Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom is elected governor as expected, he’ll keep building the state’s two contentious public works projects: the bullet train and twin water tunnels. … The Democratic front-runner and his underdog rival, Republican businessman John Cox, competed in a debate Monday. But the train, tunnels and other vital state issues weren’t raised. So I [George Skelton] called Newsom and he phoned back. I also called and emailed Cox, but neither the candidate nor his staff responded.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: Gavin Newsom, John Cox a world apart on environmental issues

Gavin Newsom and John Cox both drive zero-emission Teslas. That’s about where the common ground ends between California’s candidates for governor when it comes to the environment. … Cox opposes as a “boondoggle” [Gov. Jerry] Brown’s $17 billion proposal to move water from Northern California to Southern California through twin tunnels in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. … Newsom backs a one-tunnel option as more cost-effective.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: Tunnel foes shift focus to Delta’s most disadvantaged communities

California’s proposal to construct two massive tunnels underneath the Delta northwest of the city to divert Sacramento River water south would “devastate” Stockton and other communities in and around the Delta, especially what a new report refers to as “environmental justice communities” that often have been ignored in the discussion around the tunnels.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Delta tunnels cost soars to nearly $20 billion when accounting for inflation

The estimated cost of the Delta tunnels project, Gov. Jerry Brown’s controversial plan to re-engineer the troubled hub of California’s water network, has jumped to nearly $20 billion when accounting for inflation.

Aquafornia news Times of San Diego

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: San Diego County Water Authority conditionally backs $17 billion Delta tunnels plan

The San Diego County Water Authority’s board of directors gave conditional support Thursday to the California WaterFix, the state’s $17 billion plan to upgrade key water infrastructure. San Diego joins the Metropolitan Water District in Los Angeles and Santa Clara County Water District in Silicon Valley in backing one Gov. Jerry Brown’s signature long-term projects.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: Delta tunnels get ‘real’ as backers seek $1.6 billion loan from Trump administration

Critical permits and legal challenges are still pending, and some farming groups still haven’t committed to paying for part of Gov. Jerry Brown’s controversial $17 billion Delta tunnels project. But even with the uncertainty, backers of the project are poised to ask the Trump administration for a $1.6 billion federal loan that millions of Californians ultimately would have to repay through increases in their water bills.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: Metropolitan Water District again approves Delta tunnel funding

The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California Tuesday reaffirmed its approval of an $11-billion investment in a massive water delivery project with a vote that highlighted a deepening division on the agency’s board.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Meet the new entity in charge of California’s water tunnels project

California is about to embark on one of the biggest public works projects not just in its own state history, but in any state’s history. … And if that weren’t enough, it now appears construction will be led by an entity entirely new to such a massive water project.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: Senators insist on judicial review of water tunnels project

California’s two Democratic senators have committed themselves to opposing a controversial House provision that would block judicial review of the state’s WaterFix tunnel project, reprising a familiar Capitol Hill plot. These California water narratives start bubbling up in the House, and then they often, although not always, dry out in the Senate.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Texts reveal political maneuvering ahead of MWD’s Delta tunnels vote

The days leading up to a key funding vote on the delta tunnels project were marked by intense politicking and head-counting by board members at the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: Why Southern California is calling for a do-over on its vote to bankroll the Delta tunnels

A historic vote on the Delta tunnels project is getting a do-over. Southern California’s powerful water agency — the Metropolitan Water District — said Thursday its board will vote again in July on whether to pay for the lion’s share of the project, known officially as California WaterFix.

Aquafornia news CALmatters

Commentary: Governor may leave with two big projects on the bubble

When [Gov. Jerry] Brown became governor again in 2011, a bullet train project had been launched with voter approval and a successor to the peripheral canal, twin tunnels beneath the Delta, was being actively pursued, thanks largely to his Republican predecessor, Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Congress learning to padlock courthouse door

The high-ranking lawmaker who wants to block judicial review of a massive California water tunnels project calls his maneuver something close to standard operating procedure. And, like it or not, he’s right. In the latest example of a controversial tactic, the chairman of a key House panel included language blocking judicial review of California’s WaterFix project in a fiscal 2019 Interior Department funding package.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: A ban on Delta tunnels lawsuits slips into federal spending plan

On Tuesday, veteran Rep. Ken Calvert of Riverside County released a 142-page draft spending bill for fiscal year 2019 for the Interior Department and related agencies. Tucked into the bill, on page 141, is a brief provision that would prohibit state or federal lawsuits against “the Final Environmental Impact Report/Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Bay Delta Conservation Plan/California Water Fix … and any resulting agency decision, record of decision, or similar determination.”

Aquafornia news CBS Los Angeles

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: 3 water districts funding Delta tunnel project form oversight agency

The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and two other water districts that agreed to fund the California Waterfix tunnel project announced today [May 14] the formation of a public agency that will be charged with its design and construction. … The California Department of Water Resources also announced that it has created the Delta Conveyance Office …

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: Gov. Brown stresses support for water tunnel project

Fresh off recent victories securing billions of dollars in financing for his ambitious plan to reroute California’s water system, Gov. Jerry Brown offered a genial yet urgent reminder Thursday of the need to set the project on stable footing before he leaves office next year.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Gov. Brown warns that Delta tunnels project could be jeopardized if momentum is not maintained

Gov. Jerry Brown warned local water agency officials throughout California on Thursday that unless the delta tunnels project gets needed state and federal permits soon and continues advancing, the major infrastructure project may not happen in their lifetime.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: Silicon Valley water agency votes to give $650 million to governor’s tunnel project

The South Bay’s largest water agency gave a big lift to Gov. Jerry Brown’s plan for a pair of water conveyance tunnels through the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta on Tuesday, committing $650 million to the effort. The $17 billion tunnels project, which would help move water from Northern California to the drier south, has been among the governor’s top priorities but has lacked the necessary funding to move forward.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Governor’s Delta tunnels get $650 million boost from Bay Area water agency

A Bay Area water agency agreed Tuesday to pump $650 million into Gov. Jerry Brown’s Delta tunnels project, providing a meaningful boost for the controversial $16.7 billion plan. The 4-3 vote by the Santa Clara Valley Water District brings the tunnels project, which would overhaul the troubled heart of California’s aging water delivery network, a step closer to being fully funded.

Aquafornia news KPCC Southern California Public Radio

Governor accused of behind-the-scenes manipulation in vote of water tunnel project

Two nonprofit groups are accusing Gov. Jerry Brown of improperly working with Metropolitan Water District board directors behind the scenes to put pressure on a key vote for a massive water tunnel project.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

$650 million vote set on Delta tunnels project: Are taxpayers protected?

In a vote that could give Gov. Jerry Brown’s $17 billion Delta tunnels plan new momentum, Silicon Valley’s largest water agency on Tuesday will consider changing course and endorsing the controversial project to make it easier to move water to the south.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: San Jose water agency delays $650 million Delta tunnels vote

After a five-hour packed public hearing, the board of Silicon Valley’s largest water provider late Wednesday night put off a closely watched vote until next week on whether to provide up to $650 million to support Gov. Jerry Brown’s $17 billion plan to build two giant tunnels under the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta to make it easier to move water south.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Did governor promise Bay Area a new reservoir in exchange for Delta tunnels support?

Just six months ago, a major Bay Area water district only would commit about a third of the $650 million Gov. Jerry Brown’s office had hoped it would pay for his controversial Delta tunnels project. In a sudden reversal, the Santa Clara Valley Water District board now may pay the full amount.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: Santa Clara Valley Water District may fund Delta tunnels

In a dramatic reversal of its stance just six months ago, Silicon Valley’s largest water district has scheduled a vote Wednesday on a plan to commit up to $650 million to Gov. Jerry Brown’s controversial proposal to build two massive tunnels under the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: Long road still ahead for California’s Delta tunnels plan

A decision by California’s largest water supplier on April 10 ended months of uncertainty over its role in the funding of California Water Fix, the state’s plan to build new water conveyance infrastructure in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. … Financing is not the only issue that needs to be addressed. There is still a long list of regulatory and legal hurdles the project needs to clear.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Southern California plans to spend $11 billion on the Delta tunnels. Who will end up paying?

When the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California voted to finance the lion’s share of the delta tunnels project, some on the board called it a bold stroke of leadership. The delegations from Los Angeles and San Diego, however, called the move alarming, financially risky and irresponsible.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Massive Delta tunnels project took a giant step forward — here’s what you need to know.

A powerful Southern California water agency voted Tuesday to cover two-thirds of the cost of building the controversial Delta tunnels, in one of the most significant California water actions in decades.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Southern California water agency votes to fund controversial plan to build two Delta tunnels

The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California voted Tuesday to shoulder most of the cost of revamping the system that delivers water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin delta to the Southland, committing nearly $11 billion to building two massive tunnels.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: Water agency approves $11 billion for California twin tunnels plan

California’s largest water agency on Tuesday approved a nearly $11 billion plan to help fund two enormous tunnels, breathing new life into Gov. Jerry Brown’s ambitious and controversial plan to remake the state’s water system.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

California’s 2-tunnel Delta project back on track with SoCal water district’s vote

The largest water district in California agreed Tuesday to fork over nearly $11 billion to build two tunnels that will siphon water south from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, a major boost for Gov. Jerry Brown’s pet project.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: Vote on Southern California’s investment in Delta tunnel project could be a nail-biter

In what will be a crucial decision, the board of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California is expected to vote Tuesday whether to approve nearly $11 billion in financing to help build two giant water tunnels in the center of the state’s waterworks or $5.2 billion to construct a single tunnel. Lobbying on the long-planned project continued Monday as Gov. Jerry Brown asked MWD directors to move ahead with both tunnels.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: California zigzags on ambitious water-delivery project, puts two-tunnel concept back on the table

In agenda materials posted Friday afternoon, the staff of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California presented two options for the board to vote on Tuesday: Approve $5.2 billion in funding for a single tunnel that would be built in the center of the state’s waterworks, or OK up to $10.8 billion to help finance the construction of two tunnels.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: Metropolitan Water District backs away from plan to finance both Delta tunnels

The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California is dropping plans to push ahead with a two-tunnel proposal to revamp the state’s water delivery system, opting to pursue a scaled-back version instead.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: Southern California might foot the bill for Delta tunnels project — with no promise of reimbursement

Southern California’s biggest water agency is considering picking up most of the bill for overhauling the state’s waterworks without any guarantee that it will eventually recoup its additional, multibillion-dollar investment. At a board workshop Tuesday, officials of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California outlined ways in which the agency could finance the construction of two giant water tunnels under the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

For less than $5 a month, Southern California ratepayers can pay for Delta tunnels, agency says

Pushing ahead with an ambitious effort to take a majority stake in the state’s troubled $16.7 billion tunnels project, Southern California’s behemoth water agency announced Tuesday that the plan would cost its ratepayers less than $5 a month.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Winemakers, infrastructure could take a hit in a Trump trade war

Jock O’Connell, international trade adviser at California-based Beacon Economics, said the infrastructure sector will be one of the first to feel the impact of the tariff. … So “if you’re building new bridges, or the twin tunnels the governor wants to build, or the high speed rail system,” you’re going to have to start recalculating, he said.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Daily News

Los Angeles to oppose $17 billion water tunnels if residents must pay more than fair share

The Los Angeles City Council moved Wednesday to officially oppose staged construction of a proposed multibillion-dollar water-delivery tunnel project if it would result in greater costs or a greater portion of the financial burden for Los Angeles ratepayers.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: Judge shoots down Delta tunnels foes’ request to halt key hearing

A Sacramento County judge on Monday declined to temporarily stop the hearings that will decide the fate of Gov. Jerry Brown’s Delta tunnels project after its opponents sued alleging the process had been tainted by secret meetings.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: What, if anything, is lost in building one Delta tunnel instead of two?

Two tunnels, one or none? The question continues to swirl around plans to perform major surgery on the sickly heart of California’s water system. Confronted with a shortage of funding, state officials announced last month that they would move ahead with the construction of one giant water tunnel under the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta rather than two.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: Sacramento County alleges secret meetings over Delta tunnels, files lawsuit

Sacramento County is leading a lawsuit accusing state officials of holding illegal secret meetings about the controversial Delta tunnels project. The county, joined by the city of Stockton, several Delta water agencies and a group of environmental organizations, sued the State Water Resources Control Board on Tuesday.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Southern California water agency could vote soon on whether to bankroll Delta tunnels

Facing pressure from Gov. Jerry Brown, Southern California’s largest water agency could vote as soon as April on whether to take a majority stake in the twin-tunnels project Brown plans for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Delta tunnels hearing lunges forward

State officials declined again Wednesday to delay a hearing that could lead to the issuance of a critical permit to build the governor’s $17 billion Delta tunnels. … A delay at this point, officials with the State Water Resources Control Board wrote, “would be both premature and needlessly disruptive.”

Aquafornia news KPCC Southern California Public Radio

5 things to know about the plan to ship water to Southern California (audio)

Earlier this week, KPCC learned Southern California’s largest water importer, the Metropolitan Water District, was considering more than doubling its investment in a plan to reconfigure how supplies are diverted from one of the region’s most important sources of water: the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta just east of San Francisco.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

State: Delta tunnels a good investment

More than six years after critics began calling for a full economic study of the Delta tunnels plan, the Brown administration released one on Tuesday, finding that the benefits outweigh the costs — albeit by a slim margin for some water users.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Study commissioned by Brown administration says his Delta tunnels plan would pay off for farmers, cities

Even a single water tunnel burrowed under the California’s Delta would be worth it for urban ratepayers and farmers who would to pay to build and maintain the project, according to an analysis released Tuesday by Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: Southern California water agency eyes possible control of Delta tunnels project

In a dramatic twist on the Delta tunnels saga, Southern California’s powerful water agency is exploring the feasibility of owning the majority stake in the controversial project, a move that raises fears of a “water grab.”

Aquafornia news San Gabriel Valley Tribune

After resistance from local water districts to governor’s two-tunnel Delta project, plan could be pared down to just one

The state water board held its first hearing Thursday since Gov. Jerry Brown’s plan to move more water efficiently from Northern California to the south was pared down. … “This is something we expected,” Jeff Kightlinger, general manager of MWD, a provider of water to 19 million Southern Californians and the biggest supporter of WaterFix, said during an interview Thursday. “But I still think for the greater good, a two-tunnel project would be better.”

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Governor tried to smooth the way for Delta project. All he got was more friction.

California officials tried to smooth the way for the Delta tunnels project by slicing it in half. Instead they’re facing more pushback and the possibility of additional delays. One day after Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration downsized the Delta tunnels project, a host of project opponents tried Thursday to halt a state regulatory hearing that’s crucial to getting it built.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: Huge Delta plan for moving water cut to just 1 tunnel

California water officials announced Wednesday that a plan to build two giant tunnels for moving water supplies across the state was being reduced to a single, less costly underpass — at least initially — a setback for one of Gov. Jerry Brown’s signature projects.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

California moves ahead with one Delta tunnel, scaling back ambitious water delivery project

State officials Wednesday said they will press ahead with a smaller version of a long-planned water delivery project, initially building one, instead of two, massive tunnels in the heart of California’s vast waterworks. The decision to downsize California WaterFix boils down to money.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: No more delay on Delta tunnels hearings

State officials declined late Tuesday to further delay key hearings on the proposed Delta tunnels, overriding opponents’ arguments that illegal meetings have taken place and that the project soon may be altered anyway. The State Water Resources Control Board found that the meetings were legal.

Aquafornia news CALmatters

Commentary: Jerry Brown’s two big public-works projects are foundering

During his second governorship, Jerry Brown has frequently touted big public-works projects as the mark of a great society—a marked change from his first stint four decades ago, when “small is beautiful” and “lower your expectations” were his oft-voiced themes. He did it again last week, effusively plugging two major public works, twin water tunnels and a high-speed rail network, during his final State of the State address.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

One possible Delta tunnels deal would give cheap water to farmers — and more expensive water to cities

Months of behind the scenes talks have failed to drum up enough money to pay the full costs of replumbing the center of California’s sprawling waterworks with two giant water tunnels. That has left the state with little choice but to scale down a roughly $17-billion water delivery project to fit a funding pot of less than $10 billion.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Commentary: Governor is in danger of becoming remembered for his ‘boondoggle bullet train to nowhere’

Time is running out for Gov. Jerry Brown to fix two big legacy projects. If he doesn’t, his successor might just dump them in the trash. Brown has only until the end of the year to clean up and repair his bullet train and water tunnel ventures.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Key Delta tunnels hearing delayed

A lengthy Delta tunnels hearing that was set to begin Thursday instead has been delayed for two weeks as state officials consider claims that illegal meetings took place between tunnels proponents and the agency that is supposed to independently judge the project.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: Illegal meetings in Delta tunnels case, opponents claim

A state agency that is supposed to independently judge the merits of Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed Delta tunnels has simultaneously been holding meetings illegally with project proponents, critics allege in a pair of motions filed this week. The State Water Resources Control Board on Thursday is scheduled to resume lengthy public hearings that could result in a permit that would allow the $17 billion project to move forward.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

California governor considers one-tunnel water plan

Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration is proposing scaling back his troubled plans to redo California’s water system, releasing a new plan that would build only one tunnel to ship water from Northern California instead of two, and put Southern and central California water agencies directly in charge of designing and building it.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

State moves step closer to downsizing Delta tunnels project

California officials have moved closer to scaling back the troubled Delta tunnels project, officially notifying potential construction contractors that they’re considering limiting the project to one tunnel.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: Brown administration scaling down $17 billion Delta tunnels project

Faced with a shortage of money and political support after seven years of work, Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration is working on a plan to scale back one of his key legacy projects — a $17 billion proposal to build two massive tunnels under the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta to make it easier to move water from Northern California to the south.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: Don’t force us to pay for Delta tunnels, San Joaquin Valley farmers say

Already short of funding, Gov. Jerry Brown’s Delta tunnels project is being challenged in court by a bloc of San Joaquin Valley farmers insisting they shouldn’t be forced to help foot the $17.1 billion price tag. The valley farmers, located mainly in Kern and Kings counties, voiced their objections in a Sacramento court filing opposing the Brown administration’s plan to issue bonds to pay for the tunnels.

Aquafornia news KQED Public Media for Northern California

Lawmakers push for transparency on feasibility of Delta tunnels

State lawmakers opposed to Gov. Jerry Brown’s Delta tunnel plan are stepping up calls for greater transparency into the project’s finances, as the proposed water delivery system suffered a series of setbacks this fall.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: Delta tunnels’ cost study coming, state says

A long-awaited study on the costs and benefits of Gov. Jerry Brown’s Delta tunnels should be finished by next spring, a state official said Thursday after an independent audit concluded such a study should have already been done. The tunnels have been in the planning stage for 11 years, but state officials have never completed a comprehensive analysis of whether the project pencils out financially. 

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Delta residents vent about governor’s twin tunnels water plan

A throng of people, nearly 200 strong, came to this delta town Thursday, many of them wearing work boots and ball caps, blue jeans and plaid, and all of them hoping to learn something good about Gov. Jerry Brown’s plan to solve California’s water delivery problems. The folks from the river towns and rural communities along the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta didn’t like what they heard about the plan that is being called California WaterFix.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Timeline: The long history of California’s Delta tunnels plan

It’s been more than half a century since Californians started talking seriously about building a new conveyance system – canals or tunnels – to divert water around the Sacramento-San Joaquin Bay Delta to south Delta pumps for export to farms and cities in the south.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: If governor can’t sell California on two Delta tunnels, would just one fly?

It sounds like a nice, elegant compromise for a California water project swamped in uncertainty: If there isn’t enough money to build two Delta tunnels, why not build just one? Drastically downsizing Gov. Jerry Brown’s tunnels wouldn’t merely save money.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Could a simpler Delta tunnel solve years of California water conflict?

California’s ambitious plan to build two giant water tunnels under the West’s largest estuary has been deemed too expensive by some of the water utilities that would have to pay for it. As a result, attention is turning back to a cheaper option: One tunnel instead of two. … Ironically, it is an option the state’s top water agencies rejected out of hand a decade ago.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Take ‘twin’ out of Delta tunnels?

In the Delta region, the twin tunnels always have been considered double trouble. If you take the “twin” out, you’ve still got trouble. That’s the view of many local activists as speculation grows that Gov. Jerry Brown’s two-tunnel water conveyance project will soon be downsized, whittled down to perhaps just one tunnel with a smaller capacity.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Commentary: Delta tunnel project decision time has arrived

A new option has entered the discussion of Delta water supplies: one cross-Delta tunnel instead of two. For now, California’s WaterFix proposal, pushed by Gov. Jerry Brown, is for two tunnels under-crossing the Delta for 35 miles, allowing up to 60 percent of Delta water exports to come from the main channel of Sacramento River.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Interior Department clarifies, says it will continue to work on Delta tunnels project

After several hours of confusion over the Trump administration’s position on a massive water delivery project, the Interior Department said Wednesday it would continue to work with the state on California WaterFix.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Is Donald Trump fighting the Delta tunnels?

Is the Trump administration opposed to the Delta tunnels, Gov. Jerry Brown’s plan to remake the troubled estuary and improve water deliveries to the southern half of the state? For a while Wednesday, it certainly looked that way.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: Interior Department clarifies that it remains behind proposed Delta tunnels

Bewildering both opponents and supporters of Gov. Jerry Brown’s plan to build two giant water tunnels under the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, the Department of Interior late Wednesday said the Trump administration had not pulled its support for the project as reported earlier.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: California Democrats seek new federal probe of water project

Five California Democrats in Congress asked Tuesday for a new federal review of funding for Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed tunnel project. Their request follows a federal audit of Brown’s $16 billion proposal to re-engineer California’s complex north-south water system by building two giant water tunnels.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: Brown administration says it’s willing to consider one-tunnel approach to Delta project

Silicon Valley’s water district Wednesday rejected Gov. Jerry Brown’s plan to build twin tunnels beneath the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta but said it would support a smaller, less expensive project. A top state official said the Brown administration is willing to consider such an approach.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Santa Clara Valley Water District rejects governor’s twin Delta tunnels plan

In a landmark vote closely watched across California, Silicon Valley’s largest water agency on Tuesday rejected Gov. Jerry Brown’s $17 billion plan to build two giant tunnels under the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Key vote on $17 billion Delta tunnels project Tuesday in San Jose

In its most far-reaching decision in more than 50 years, Silicon Valley’s largest water provider will vote Tuesday on whether to embrace or reject Gov. Jerry Brown’ s $17 billion plan to build two massive tunnels under the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

As water agencies cast votes, future of Delta tunnels remains unclear

On Oct. 10, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California voted to endorse the Delta tunnels, the $17 billion project that aims to reboot California’s main water supply system. Two days later, the Kern County Water Agency offered its own bid – albeit it a hesitant one – of support.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Commentary: Brown should compromise and settle for just one Delta tunnel

U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein recalls Gov. Jerry Brown pitching her to support his costly twin-tunnels water plan. He showed her the environmental analysis and she was shocked. Shocked not at the contents, but at the documents’ size.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: Group of San Joaquin farmers says they’re willing to pay for Delta tunnels project

A bloc of San Joaquin farmers tentatively endorsed the Delta tunnels project Thursday, becoming the first significant agricultural group to support the struggling plan. But the level of support from members of the Kern County Water Agency, which serves much of the $7 billion-a-year farm economy at the southern end of the valley, was less than wholehearted.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Kern County Water Agency votes to help fund Delta water delivery system

In a small step forward for California WaterFix, a major San Joaquin Valley irrigation district on Thursday tentatively endorsed a partial investment in the water-delivery project.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: Despite some opposition from Los Angeles, giant Southern California water agency approves Delta tunnels project

The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California’s board voted to pay for about a quarter of the tunnels project, Gov. Jerry Brown’s $17.1 billion effort to re-engineer the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and improve water deliveries to south state cities and farms.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Southern California water agency approves pitching in $4.3 billion for massive Delta tunnels project

Southern California’s largest water agency Tuesday threw a lifeline to California WaterFix, approving a $4.3-billion buy-in to the water delivery project.

Aquafornia news San Gabriel Valley Tribune

$17 billion Delta water tunnels project faces critical MWD vote Tuesday

After 11 years of planning, a massive tunnels project touted as a solution to the state’s vulnerable water supply faces its biggest test  Tuesday.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: Once again, Southern California holds the key to a major California water project

In 1960, the water barons of Los Angeles stood between Gov. Pat Brown and his dream of building a network of dams and canals to make the southern half of California bloom. He beat them – just barely, after weeks of public arm-twisting – and the State Water Project was born.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: State auditor slams California’s $17 billion Delta tunnels project

On the eve of key votes in San Jose and Los Angeles, Gov. Jerry Brown’s $17 billion proposal to build two massive tunnels through the Delta to make it easier to move water from north to south was hit with another setback Thursday as a state audit found it was suffering from “significant cost increases and delays.”

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Tunnels audit heaps blame on state

State officials who have been planning the $17 billion Delta tunnels for more than a decade failed to determine whether the project pencils out financially and violated state law by hiring a high-level consultant who didn’t meet basic qualifications, according to a state audit released Thursday.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Audit delivers another hit to California tunnels project

California’s water managers appear to have violated state law when they hired a consultant to help plan Gov. Jerry Brown’s $16 billion project to build two massive water tunnels, state auditors said Thursday.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Governor visits Los Angeles to lobby for $17-billion Delta water project

With two key California WaterFix votes looming, Gov. Jerry Brown expressed confidence Thursday that water agencies will commit to enough funding to sustain the massive project. Brown was in Los Angeles to lobby for the $17-billion proposal, which would re-engineer the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, the hub of California’s complex waterworks.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Delta tunnels consultant paid millions, but state auditor says firm wasn’t qualified

The Delta tunnels project was just gaining steam, and a San Francisco engineering firm had outbid its competitors to win a $60 million, seven-year state contract to help plan the project. But officials at the California Department of Water Resources weren’t happy with a manager that the company, URS Corp., had assigned to help oversee the planning process.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: 1939 Central Valley water deal may doom Delta tunnels

Dam builders from President Franklin Roosevelt’s administration wanted to bring water to the parched eastern half of the San Joaquin Valley, but first they had to deal with a cluster of landowners whose ancestors had been there since the 1800s. The deal they cut in 1939 paved the way for much of the Central Valley Project, an engineering marvel that helped turn the Valley into one of the world’s most productive farming regions.

Aquafornia news KPBS Public Broadcasting, San Diego

Debating Delta tunnel plan

The state’s water users will find out soon if they will be paying for the $17 billion tunnel project called the California WaterFix. The controversial plan proposes building tunnels under the Sacramento Delta to secure the supply of water being sent south.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Delta tunnels dead? Southern California ready to plow ahead

Southern California’s mammoth water agency appeared ready to plow ahead with the Delta tunnels project Tuesday, despite a “no” vote by a giant bloc of San Joaquin Valley farmers that could doom the $17 billion proposal.

Aquafornia news KPCC Southern California Public Radio

MWD to debate its stake in $17 billion Delta water tunnels project

MWD [Metropolitan Water District of Southern California] General Manager Jeffrey Kightlinger said the board on Tuesday is scheduled to debate whether to commit to its portion of the project.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: There is a multibillion-dollar hole in the Delta tunnels funding plan

The decision by one of the state’s major water players to opt out of California’s $17-billion replumbing project was a surprise to many. The reasons for it were not.

Aquafornia news East Bay Times

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: Bay Area water board backs Delta tunnels project

One day after the largest water district in America pulled out of a $17 billion state project to build twin tunnels under the Delta, a water supplier for 220,000 Alameda County residents supported the plan and said it wants to join in.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: New fight in California water wars—How to update old system

In California’s long-raging water wars, pitting north against south and farmer against city dweller, the one thing everybody agreed on Wednesday was that the outdated method of shipping water throughout the most populous state needs a serious upgrade.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

What’s next for Brown’s Delta tunnels now that a big chunk of funding has disappeared?

Shellshocked by an influential farm irrigation district’s refusal to help pay for the Delta tunnels, advocates of the $17.1 billion project were scrambling Wednesday to salvage it or conjure up a Plan B. Three possible options were floated by California water policymakers for reviving the proposal.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: Water district vote deals major blow to California’s Delta tunnel project

By a 7-1 vote, the state’s largest irrigation district decided not to join California WaterFix — a $17-billion plan to build two tunnels under the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta that would re-engineer the way Northern California supplies are moved to the rest of the state.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

San Joaquin Valley farmers think Sacramento water agencies should help pay for Delta tunnels

Westlands Water District, whose board of directors is scheduled to vote Tuesday on whether to help pay for the tunnels, says it needs to spread the costs among a greater number of water districts, both north and south of the Delta, to make the project affordable to the Fresno and Kings county farmers who get water from Westlands.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: Millions of Californians on hook for water plan

California is increasing the pressure on millions of Californians to help pay for two giant water tunnels that Gov. Jerry Brown wants built.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Will Southland wind up holding much of the $17-billion bill for Delta water tunnels?

Some of the state’s biggest water districts are about to make their opening moves in a financial chess game that ultimately could saddle the Southland with much of the bill for re-engineering the failing heart of California’s water system.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Delta tunnel foes try new strategy

Opponents of the Delta tunnels proposal, facing a long-shot bid to kill the controversial project on environmental grounds, are now trying to undermine the plan’s financial structure.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Taxpayer money was wrongly used to plan California water tunnel project, federal audit says

A federal agency left U.S. taxpayers on the hook for $50 million in water project costs that should have been paid by Central Valley irrigation districts, according to an inspector general’s report released Friday.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Audit finds improper taxpayer subsidies for Delta tunnels

In a potential setback for the controversial Delta tunnels, federal auditors say $50 million in taxpayer funds were used to improperly subsidize San Joaquin Valley irrigation districts as they helped plan the project.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: Audit—US misuses taxpayer cash for California water project

The U.S. Interior Department improperly contributed $85 million in taxpayer funds to help pay for a giant California water project backed by Gov. Jerry Brown, despite pledges from Brown and other state and federal authorities that local water districts would bear all the costs, a federal audit said Friday.

Aquafornia news KPCC Southern California Public Radio

How much might ‘the California Water Fix’ cost Los Angeles

A Los Angeles City Council committee heard public debate Tuesday over the amount that a massive project known as the California Water Fix could add to the water bills of local ratepayers.

Aquafornia news East Bay Express

Brown’s tunnels could start in 2018, and Delta farmers say they’ll be devastated

Brett Baker steps off Sutter Island Road and scrambles down the bank of a levee to the edge of Steamboat Slough. … At Baker’s feet is a 6-inch-wide steel pipe that carries water from the slough through the levee and into his family’s century-old pear orchard.

Aquafornia news East Bay Times

Antioch files challenge to final approval of Twin Tunnels impact report

The city [Antioch] has challenged the state Department of Water Resources’ approval of the Twin Tunnels project, alleging that the city itself will still see more salt in the water it uses as a drinking supply.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

San Joaquin County claims tunnels would ‘devastate’ Delta

A flurry of lawsuits over Gov. Jerry Brown’s Delta tunnels continued on Monday, with several Delta counties, farm groups and environmentalists joining the fray as expected.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: Dozens are suing to block Delta tunnels. Will it matter?

They have one of the most powerful legal weapons found in any courtroom – the California Environmental Quality Act, or CEQA. But environmental groups, local governments and others face an uphill climb in their fight against the controversial Delta tunnels project.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Sacramento County sues to block Delta tunnels—and it’s not alone

Sacramento County led a cascade of area governments suing the state in an effort to block the Delta tunnels, saying the $17 billion project would harm local farmers, endangered fish and low-income communities at the south end of the county.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: Delta tunnels project needs water agencies to pay for it (with graphic)

As California water agencies prepare to vote next month on paying for the tunnels, which are supposed to improve water deliveries to the southern half of the state, the stark difference between urban and rural water users’ expected costs illustrates one of the project’s main stumbling blocks.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: Nearly $17-billion water project is being planned for California

Decision time is approaching for the agencies that will have to pick up the nearly $17-billion tab for building two massive water tunnels under the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, the heart of the state’s water works.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: Southern Californians, here’s how much your water bills could rise to pay for Delta tunnels

More than 6 million Southern Californian households could pay $3 more a month to help cover the costs of Gov. Jerry Brown’s controversial plan to bore two huge tunnels under the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Build it now, fix it later?

Even after a decade of studies and tens of thousands of pages of analysis, no one can say precisely what Gov. Jerry Brown’s twin tunnels will do to the Delta.

Aquafornia news Santa Rosa Press Democrat

Sonoma County Water Agency manager named head of California Department of Water Resources

Grant Davis, general manager of the Sonoma County Water Agency, was tapped Wednesday by Gov. Jerry Brown as the state’s new director for the Department of Water Resources, handing a veteran of North Bay politics and water policy a central role in Brown’s controversial bid to overhaul California’s water system with a $17 billion pair of tunnels under Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Congressman McNerney presents bill as alternative to twin tunnels (with audio)

Congressman Jerry McNerney from Stockton presented a bill Monday as an alternative to the Twin Tunnels that will concentrate on ways to create new water.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: Congressman McNerney outlines Delta tunnels alternative

[U.S. Rep. Jerry] McNerney’s bill comes at a crucial time, as various government agencies and water districts make a series of decisions this summer and fall about whether the $17 billion tunnels project should move forward.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

These farmers say they may not pay for Delta tunnels pushed by governor

The governor’s proposed Delta tunnels ran into a roomful of skeptics Monday – an influential group of San Joaquin Valley farmers who remain unconvinced the controversial project will deliver the water they need at a price they’re prepared to swallow.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: Opponents of California’s Delta tunnels project push alternative strategies

In June, two federal agencies gave their blessings to the controversial project to build two water conveyance tunnels under California’s Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Environmental groups promptly sounded the alarm that the state’s so-named WaterFix project would not, as its backers claim, solve the matrix of problems plaguing the Delta and the people and creatures relying on it. … But if not WaterFix, then what?

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

More details as Twin Tunnels decision nears

A giant Southern California water district that could decide whether to invest in the Delta tunnels as soon as September has released the first of three “white papers” which are expected to address some unresolved issues.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Can California fish catch break with giant tunnels? Depends

New federal rulings say giant water tunnels that California wants to build would pose new perils, and a couple new breaks, for the state’s vanishing salmon and other native fish.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Lawsuits challenge ambitious California water tunnels

Gov. Jerry Brown’s ambitious plans to build two massive tunnels, reengineering the hub of California’s water system, would destroy native fish species already on the brink of extinction, lawsuits filed Thursday said.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Environmentalists, fishing groups sue over Delta tunnels

Kicking off what are expected to be years of legal battles, a coalition of environmental and fishing groups on Thursday filed the first major lawsuits over California Gov. Jerry Brown’s $17 billion plan to build two massive, 35-mile-long tunnels under the Delta to make it easier to move water from Northern California to the south.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

‘Under the radar’ hearings grind on for California water tunnel project

The controversial water diversion tunnels proposed in California’s Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta may be the biggest waterworks up for review anywhere in the world. And this $17 billion project requires a variety of permits and approvals before construction can begin. … The State Water Resources Control Board is the agency charged with issuing the new diversion permit – essentially a new water right.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Feds: Tunnels won’t jeopardize fish

Federal wildlife agencies gave the controversial Delta tunnels a partial approval on Monday, announcing that the $17 billion project to replumb the dying estuary will not jeopardize threatened and endangered fish.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: Federal agencies greenlight proposed Delta tunnel project

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service concluded that the construction of new diversion points on the Sacramento River and two massive water tunnels would not jeopardize the existence of endangered species in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, which is the hub of California’s waterworks.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: Feds to give update on California’s big water tunnels

The federal regulators evaluating Gov. Jerry Brown’s decades-old ambitions to re-engineer the water supplies from California’s largest river are promising a status update Monday, as Brown’s $16 billion proposal to shunt part of the Sacramento through two mammoth tunnels awaits a crucial yes or no from national agencies.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: Why years of waiting may be over on Delta tunnels

Love it or hate it, the Delta tunnels project is reaching a decision point.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: Water agencies push bigger role in tunnel plan

California’s powerful regional water districts are working alongside Gov. Jerry Brown to take on more responsibility for designing, building and arranging financing for a $15.7 billion twin tunnel project that would ship water southward from Northern California as they push to finally close the deal on the controversial plan, two officials working closely on the project told The Associated Press.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee/Water Deeply

‘These fish are in a bad way.’ How many more will die because of the Delta tunnels?

California’s ambitious plan to tunnel under the West’s largest estuary has always had two primary goals: to restore imperiled native fish and to improve water deliveries to farms and cities. An early analysis by federal wildlife agencies, however, indicates the project might make life worse for fish.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Early review of Delta tunnel project warns of risks to fish

California’s ambitious plan to tunnel under the West’s largest estuary has always had two primary goals: to restore imperiled native fish and to improve water deliveries to farms and cities. An early analysis by federal wildlife agencies, however, indicates the project might make life worse for fish.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Delta council gets an earful as advocates speak against tunnels

Delta advocates traveled to Sacramento en masse on Friday to protest revisions to a plan that they believe would favor Gov. Jerry Brown’s twin tunnels.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

A ‘quick yes’ on Delta tunnels? Advocates concerned over new language

Proposed changes to a plan that is supposed to guide the Delta through the 21st century have advocates on red alert, as they worry that the new language locks in Gov. Jerry Brown’s $15 billion twin tunnels. The revised plan does not explicitly endorse the California Water Fix, as the tunnels proposal is formally known.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Flood control trumps tunnels

Californians are more likely to favor beefing up the state’s flood control infrastructure than building Gov. Jerry Brown’s Delta tunnels, according to the latest poll from the Public Policy Institute of California.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

One year later, Erin Brockovich’s twin tunnels promise mostly empty

Erin Brockovich parachuted into Stockton one year ago to condemn the city’s use of a common method to treat the drinking water. But sitting on a stage before a raucous crowd of 1,200, in the heart of a region deeply opposed to Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed Delta tunnels, the celebrity activist won enthusiastic applause when she accepted a new challenge.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Commentary: With prudent budget crafting, Brown shows again that he’s the adult in the Capitol

It isn’t entirely true that [Gov. Jerry] Brown’s new $179.5-billion budget proposal ignores infrastructure. The state is moving toward helping to finance probable construction of a major reservoir called Sites in the Sacramento Valley. 

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Obama administration aids giant California water project

The outgoing Obama administration on Wednesday tried to nudge forward Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposal to build two giant north-south water tunnels for California.

Aquafornia news Sacramento Bee

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: Delta tunnels — Obama says full speed ahead on permits, reviews

Two weeks before President Barack Obama leaves office, his administration vowed to move full speed ahead on California’s controversial Delta tunnels project, calling it essential for the state’s water supply as well as its environment.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Environmental documents for replumbing California water system released (with audio)

California Governor Jerry Brown’s administration has released a 97,000 page environmental document on a plan to re-engineer the state’s water delivery system. 

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Jerry Brown’s controversial tunnel project moves forward

Gov. Jerry Brown’s plan to build two giant tunnels to send Northern California water southward moved a step closer Thursday to final state and federal decisions, with the state’s release of a 90,000-page environmental review supporting the $15.7 billion project.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

‘On the brink’ of Delta tunnels

Saying that his Delta tunnels proposal has been subject to “more environmental review than any other project in the history of the world,” Gov. Jerry Brown and his administration on Thursday released 97,000 pages of final reports.

Aquafornia news Sacramento Bee

With environmental review finalized, could construction on the Delta tunnels begin in 2018?

After years of planning, officials have finalized all 97,000 pages of environmental documents to support Gov. Jerry Brown’s controversial plan to build two massive tunnels through the heart of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: State releases report on disputed twin tunnels water plan

It takes a while to get to the point, but an 80,000-page environmental opus released Thursday makes the case that Gov. Jerry Brown’s $15.7 billion twin tunnels project is the best way to fix California’s water woes.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Commentary: Everyone is at odds over Gov. Brown’s Delta tunnels plan — here’s a compromise that could stop the fighting

When enemies are in face-to-face combat, they’re often blind to an obvious path to potential compromise. That’s certainly true of water warriors, who have been battling over California’s most valuable and limited resource since statehood. Fights don’t get any more ferocious than over water in this state.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

California voters reject threat to governor’s megaprojects

California voters narrowly voted to reject a ballot initiative that could have threatened two of Gov. Jerry Brown’s megaprojects, the latest results showed Tuesday.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Voters narrowly reject Proposition 53 and future votes on big infrastructure projects

Proposition 53, an effort that sought to force statewide votes to fund a major water project and the future of high-speed rail, failed in a late count of ballots Tuesday.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: Proposition 53 to restrict bonds for Delta tunnels fails

California voters have rejected Proposition 53, a November measure to limit the state’s use of revenue bonds to pay for large public works projects that could have undermined Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed twin water tunnels under the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Tunnels spawn algae worries

The governor’s proposed Delta tunnels could worsen toxic algae blooms like the one that stunk up Stockton’s downtown waterfront this year, according to testimony last week from an expert offered by San Joaquin County.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Twin tunnels: City of Stockton warns of harm to drinking water

Gov. Jerry Brown’s Delta tunnels could harm the quality of Stockton’s drinking water to the extent that water rates would need to be doubled or tripled, a city official testified on Thursday. … [Bob] Granberg’s brief testimony on Thursday came as the state board holds extensive hearings to determine if any water users with legal rights — including Stockton — would be harmed by the operation of the tunnels.