Posted by: Jan | April 10, 2017

Santa Clara Water Users Foot the Bill


Who will foot the bill for continued planning for the Delta Tunnels? Not who you think. Santa Clara Valley Water rate payers (and no others) will be subsidizing Jerry Brown’s boondoggle to help Big Ag plant more and more almond orchards. If you don’t already know it, the Delta Tunnels will devastate Delta communities, farms, and fish, primarily to benefit Big Ag.

Driving down I-5 yesterday, I was astounded to see all of the new plantings for orchards on both sides of the highway, as far as the eye can see. During the four years during the drought, the acres of almond orchards continued to increase, as did profits from selling almonds to Asia. More money year after year. (The ones who lost were the poor communities in the Central Valley who saw the ground water they relied on for drinking and showering become polluted or even dried up.)

If you live in Santa Clara Valley, you may be the ones paying for the Delta Tunnels! The tunnel construction project will devastate the waterways in the Delta and end result will be stagnant, polluted water in the Delta so that the fresh water can be diverted to grow more almonds in the desert lands in the Central Valley. This project makes no sense, mainly benefits the big corporate growers, and will devastate communities in the Delta. Communities like Discovery Bay will be destroyed. The ripple effects will destroy the entire Delta estuary and pollute the San Francisco Bay.

That’s right! If you live in or near the following cities, you may be a ratepayer funding Governor Brown’s Delta Tunnel boondoggle: Campbell, Cupertino, Gilroy, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Los Gatos, Milpitas, Morgan Hill, Mountain View, Palo Alto, San Jose (especially in Alviso), Santa Clara, Saratoga, Sunnyvale.

What will you get out of this deal? Not more water. The promise of the tunnels is to extract the fresher water further north from the Sacramento River, water that has not been polluted by the Central Valley farm runoff like the San Joaquin currently is. So Metropolitan Water District (that serves LA), Santa Clara, and other water districts would get access to the cleaner water and would have less filtering to do to make it available as drinking water. Do you think you, the rate payers, will then get reduced water rates? Actually, it’s more likely your water district will increase rates due to these tunnel costs and pocket any cost reductions they realize in the future.

Please contact your Santa Clara Valley Water District Board Member and let them know of your opposition to funding for more planning of CA WaterFix (the Delta tunnels). Let them know of your disappointment in backroom deals and resolutions that contradict state Board policy to the public.Let them know of your disappointment in backroom deals and resolutions that contradict state Board policy to the public.

According to the latest meeting materials from the San Luis Delta-Mendota Water Authority (SLDMWA), it appears that Santa Clara Valley Water District was the only Delta-Mendota member agency that voted to provide the Department of Water Resources with additional funding for the Planning Phase of California WaterFix. This after Santa Clara Valley Water District Board Members have stated at public meetings that they were not going forward with CA WaterFix planning until a finance plan was made available for the project and after further public discussion.

The Delta-Mendoza Water Agency had $4.26M of existing debt financing that had not been used, yet, all the other member Agencies apparently would not agree to use their share of that money for continued planning costs, which means urban ratepayers are paying for the Delta tunnels planning costs for Big Ag water districts.

Please let your Board member know that you object to Santa Clara Valley Water District ratepayers paying for Delta tunnels planning costs for big agricultural water districts like Westlands Water District — which has a history of literally getting other government agencies to pay their way.

Send your comments to:

  • John L. Varela – District 1 and 2017 Chair: jvarela@valleywater.org
  • Barbara Keegan, Director – District 2: bkeegan@valleywater.org
  • Richard P. Santos, Director – District 3 and 2017 Vice Chair: board@valleywater.org,rsantos@valleywater.org
  • Linda J. LeZotte, Director – District 4: LLeZotte@valleywater.org
  • Nai Hsueh, Director – District 5: nhsueh@valleywater.org
  • Tony Estremera, Director – District 6: testremera@valleywater.org
  • Gary Kremen, Director – District 7: gkremen@valleywater.org

Thanks to our friends at Restore the Delta for alerting us to this issue.

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