Fuzzy Logic

Yesterday, the State Water Resources Control Board rejected the multi-group demand for a stay to the Delta Tunnel Permit Hearings, requested by the Department of Water Resources (DWR). Those requests were denied. Instead, the Water Board stated their plans to restart the hearings tomorrow, February 8th. Those requests were denied in part because some of the objections centered around the changing tunnel plan – from two tunnels two one. The Water Board said the DWR hadn’t formally announced any physical change in the WaterFix plans, even though there were newspaper reports and the Governor announced consideration of a one-tunnel plan instead of a two-tunnel plan, hence it was logical that the Hearings should continue as-planned.

Then today, the DWR announced they ARE changing to a one-tunnel plan. Yet the hearings are still scheduled to start tomorrow. Confusion reigns (or more likely, it’s purposeful obfuscation).

DWR plans to ”issue a draft supplemental Environmental Impact Report in June of 2018, with a final in October 2018.” So how can the Water Board Permit hearings continue as scheduled?

In addition, the plan is for one tunnel now, one tunnel later when funding is available. The first tunnel will be bigger than each of the prior tunnels, since they are planning two of the three intakes now and 6,000 of the prior 9,000 capacity. Depending on the size of the 2nd tunnel, that could ultimately end up with more actual physical capacity. There is just guessing at this point – the DWR announcement made today contains little concrete information about the new plan.

In many ways, a phased approach is much worse for the Delta. Longer construction phases so many more years of the waterways being torn asunder. The “one now, one later” plan is just as bad long-term as it relates to water quality and fish survivability as the prior plan.

As part of the announcement, Karla Nemeth, the new Director of the DWR said that the “State is preparing a cost-benefit analysis that will be available soon.” Really? They’ve never prepared a cost-benefit analysis for the two-tunnel plan that has been on the boards for years. Now they can get a reasonable analysis done in a few months?

The way this entire project is going is about the most illogical and disingenuous project I’ve seen in a long time.

Read the entire announcement here: >To: Public Water Agencies Participating in WaterFix; from the DWR

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