Posted by: Jan | December 7, 2018

Delta Tunnel Project has been put on-hold!


THIS JUST IN! Today the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) withdrew their request to the Delta Stewardship Council to certify that the Delta Tunnels (California WaterFix) is “consistent” with the Delta Plan! This is big. It means that the Water Board cannot approve the Permit for the tunnels to begin hence the tunnels are not allowed to begin.

DWR to DSC WaterFix Consistency Certification 12.7.18 copy.png

This is due in large part to the outstanding work done by Save the California Delta Alliance’s Legal Council, Michael Brodsky, and others who pushed back and testified about (1) the fact that the Delta Tunnels could not possibly reduce reliance on the Delta and reduce water exports (as required by the Delta Plan) and (2) the 10+ year construction phase of the project was so horrendous regarding the damage and impact on Delta communities, farming, and boating a recreation – all areas that the Delta Plan was committed to protecting – that the Tunnels could not possibly be allowed go forward.

The wishy-washy wording below from the DWR still claims that request of the filing for Consistency was “appropriate based on the thorough record that had been prepared” and that the report prepared for the tunnels “more than adequately supports the findings that WaterFix is consistent with the Delta Plan…”, they only say that because there are “unresolved issues related to the interpretation of the requirements of the Delta Reform Act and Delta Plan” they are withdrawing at this time.

“WRONG,” we firmly say. It was not due to any “interpretation” of requirements. Stopping the plan was necessary due to the total irresponsibility of the DWR in choosing a tunnel route through the Delta instead of around the Delta. Many of the issues raised were because DWR chose the “cheapest, shortest” route instead of the only potentially acceptable route, the Eastern route, around the Delta. By planning a huge construction project through the Delta instead of around it, the project would have gridlocked all of the rural Delta highways. Their project would shut down traffic coming to/from the Delta, blocking boaters from marinas, blocking Delta farmers trying to get their produce to market. Construction trucks rumbling through quaint legacy towns like Locke would have literally shook Locke’s 150 year old walls down. The barge traffic flooding the waterways would have made boating and recreation impossible whereas the Delta Plan says boating a recreation is an important feature of the Delta, to be protected. The irresponsible choice of the through-Delta route was a no-starter from the beginning.

Adding to that, DWR’s slipshod management and controls on the project, their “adaptive management” plan nearly insured that the northern pumps would remove more water than the environment could afford to lose, hence further impacting the environmental and water quality damage now being done to the Delta.

So while we applaud that the DWR has been forced to withdraw their filing for consistency, we are not convinced that they understand at all what the real issues are:
(1) They chose the wrong route. If they’d chosen the Eastern Route, there may have been some room for discussion; and
(2) They never put in enough controls to insure that they would not continue to destroy the water quality (as they have done in past years) or that the tunnels would not have made things worse.

So we are happy today for one battle in the skirmish being won. But we aren’t done yet.

We will not be planning a bus to Sacramento December 20-21 for the DWR meetings since the appeals process has been put on hold. We still remain concerned about the riders and the WIIN Act extension being discussed in congress, pushed by Brown and Feinstein. There is still work to be done.

We appreciate any donations we receive for our year-end fundraising drive. If you can donate, please go to http://www.NoDeltaGates.com and push on the “Donate” button on the right side or send checks made out to “STCDA” to STCDA, PO Box 1760, Discovery Bay, CA 94505.

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