“Facts” from State-Paid “Scientists”

You may have received the latest California State marketing on Gov. Brown’s WaterFix (aka the Delta Tunnels).


Such bunk. UC Davis affiliates, mainly Peter Moyle, has been a strong advocate for the WaterFix (Delta Tunnels) since day one. Here’s what’s wrong with what he is saying. The “scientists” start by acknowledging “two facts”:

  1. They Say: “The status quo is not sustainable.” While this is true, the underlying, unspoken “fact” is that the “status quo” is pumping 5 million acre feet (MAF) of water out of the Delta yearly. When the pumps were installed, true scientists warned 3 MAF is the max that can be extracted and maintain a healthy ecosystem. So yes, the status quo is NOT sustainable. The answer is NOT what Boyle et al advocates, to continue to take 5 MAF out but take it out at a different location. The only real answer is to REDUCE the amount of water removed. Do NOT maintain the status quo.

  2. They Say: “The Delta infrastructure (levees) is old and vulnerable to catastrophic failure.” Well, you could say the levee system is old but it is not as old as the Netherlands levee system. Like the Netherlands, the Delta levees need (and have been getting) ongoing maintenance in order to maintain the farmlands, the communities, and to protect the state highways and railways through the Delta. As far as vulnerable to catastrophic failure, not so much. The State’s representatives started making up what Dr. Pyle calls the “earthquake bogie” after Hurricane Katrina and they use it often as a scare tactic although there is no basis in fact or science to back up their statement. And if there were, it’s the people living in the Delta and the state infrastructure (highways, railroads) that are at risk, not the water supply. (I could go into detail about that part, but for a different blog). That is, unless they build he Delta Tunnels that can be ruptured during an earthquake. (This is yet another lengthy blog, but they aren’t designing the tunnels in an earthquake-proof manner).

Now, about the three things they claim WaterFix will do:

  • They say: “Reduce entrainment of smelt.” Well, putting better screens and reducing pumping would also do that.

  • They say: “Reduce cross-Delta movement.” True. Adding intakes along the Sacramento River would reduce the abnormal directional flow down to Clifton Court Forebay. But instead they would cause a abnormal directional flow up Georgiana Slough, ruining salmon runs, which are an even bigger disaster for the state, Commercial fishing in California and Oregon, etc. Again, they need to REDUCE the amount of water extracted, which would remove the big problem we have now. The salmon and other fish populations weren’t crashing when they removed an average of 3 MAF. But no, that wasn’t enough for the almond farmers who wanted more and more and more acres planted in the desert by I-5 for their precious almonds to ship to Asia. (Note – 3 MAF/year is plenty to provide for the urban needs and enough water to provide crops for California and America).

  • They say: “Support large investments in habitat restoration via the ‘EcoRestore’ program.” Well, that would be nice EXCEPT the EcoRestore program, which was part of the original Bay Delta Conservation Plan, has been basically dropped. A few years ago when the EPA panned their BDCP plan, the State split the BDCP into two parts: WaterFix (aka Delta Tunnels) and they named the restoration part of the BDCP “EcoRestore” and that’s been the last we’ve heard of EcoRestore. All of the planning, EIRs, budget analysis, etc., etc. have been for the WaterFix alone, NOT the EcoRestore. There is no budget for EcoRestore so how can they claim building the Tunnels is related.

Who is paying these “scientists” to continue to put out bogus marketing literature to try to help move along Gov. Brown’s pet project, the Delta Tunnels? That’s right, the urban rate payers.

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