Clarifying the Confusing Reports

Screen Shot 2017-09-28 at 3.25.03 PM McNerneyAnnouncingWESTact
Jerry McNerney announcing his WEST Act

As we reported, there were confusing reports coming out yesterday about the Santa Clara Valley Water District vote concerning the tunnel project.

Last month, Westlands Water District in Fresno, which was to have contributed $3 billion, rejected the project in its current form. Metropolitan Water Districted supported the project in their vote on October 10th, but the plan is they would only be funding part of the costs. Even that almost doubles the L.A. ratepayer costs even though those users will be getting no additional water.

The San Jose Mercury News reported yesterday that Santa Clara’s vote is a rejection of California WaterFix as proposed presently. But later in the day we saw that Governor Brown and Secretary Laird issued statements congratulating the Santa Clara Valley Water District for supporting the tunnels.


What really happened? Well, Santa Clara voted 7-0 for some scaled-down version of the project. A single tunnel.

What does that even mean? Will the amount of money that Metropolitan has committed plus a scaled-down amount from some of the smaller districts and Santa Clara pay for one tunnel? Estimates are that Brown currently has less than 50 percent of the estimated WaterFix cost, maybe only 40 percent, which probably wouldn’t cover the cost one a one-tunnel project, since much of the cost is the excavation and construction 150 feet down through unknown types of clay and soil, disrupting water tables and who knows what else.

In addition, these water agencies are voting for a project that has not been planned. There is no small one-tunnel plan. Heck, there was no financial analysis of a two-tunnel plan so we know there’s no financial return-on-investment or benefits analysis for this not-yet-conceived-of plan.

But Jerry Brown seems intent on claiming victory.

One tunnel, two tunnels . . . as long as construction is planned through the heart of the Delta, disrupting quaint legacy communities in the North Delta, destroying boating waterways in the South Delta, and threatening Delta farmer’s ground water (the drinking water for their farmhouses) in-between and other negative impacts (going through bird refuges, leaving huge muck piles behind) then it’s a bad project. As long as the plan is to continue to try to over-export the 5 million acre-feet of water per year, the amount that has brought the fisheries crashing and has already horribly impacted water quality in the Delta, then it’s a bad project. Toxic blue-green algae blooms are a sign of stagnant water. The current water quality standards plan is lacking in addressing how to keep the water in the Delta safe for swimming and recreation and any tunnel project that diverts water around the Delta will only make it worse.

Let’s just face it. The exporters need to start doing what the Legislature directed them to do in 2009: Reduce exports and reduce reliance on the Delta. They need to get back to the approved 3 MAF levels, where they were until the late 1990s. They are allowed to take “excess” water, but late ’90s, they started pumping way more than what was just excess, as was obvious when the fisheries crashed.

It’s time for Brown to admit his big fancy tunnel plan was a bad idea and move on to good ideas for California, ideas like Rep. Jerry McNerney’s WEST Act (the Water and Energy Sustainability through Technology Act): No tunnels, invest in desalination, recycling, conservation, L.A.’s infrastructure upgrades – modern ideas, not worn-out tunnel/canal ideas. The WEST Act includes provisions that support innovative technologies and infrastructure for urban and agricultural areas, as well as efforts to improve efficiency. “It’s time to change the narrative and focus on practical, forward-thinking solutions instead of high-cost, short-term fixes,” said Congressman McNerney. “California has long been a leading innovator in energy and technology and we now have the opportunity to apply that type of ingenuity to modernizing our water systems.”

Save the California Delta Alliance (STCDA) is working to protect the entire Delta: our farmers, fisheries, and North and South Delta communities.

STCDA is the only organization working to protect the South Delta Boating & Recreation and the water quality needed to support these activities. Clean, non-toxic water is vital to South Delta communities’ economic survival.

Please Donate.

Or send a check made out to “STCDA” to:
P.O. Box 1760
Discovery Bay, CA 94505

1 Response to “Clarifying the Confusing Reports”

  1. 1 Gene Beley October 18, 2017 at 5:52 pm

    Good blog, Congressman, Jerry! Confusion is the language of the entire project. I think they like for the public to be confused or maybe they like their own people to be confused. If one is confused enough, you can vote for something you didn’t no you voted yes for. Happens all the time in our American ballot system.

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