STCDA Official Response to the Single Tunnel


Here is the official Save the California Delta Alliance response to the Single Tunnel (Delta Conveyance) NOP comment period, ending today.

We’d like to thank our Legal Council, Michael Brodsky, for the time and effort he has put in creating this comprehensive and impactful response. He clearly cites how the current project violates the Delta Plan (the overarching document for what projects are allowed and what are not allowed to be undertaken in the Delta).

In legalese, the proposed project is:

not consistent with the Delta Reform Act, the Delta Plan, the Public Trust Doctrine, California Constitution Article X, section 2, the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”), the legal uses to which the State Water Project (“SWP”) may be put, environmental justice principles codified in Government Code section 65040.12, …

His argument is that the only viable alternative is the “No Tunnel” alternative, or a better phrase he uses is a “Natural Systems Alternative,” that “reduces exports in order to provide more water for through-Delta seaward flow and includes strengthening and restoring Delta levees through the use of setback levees and channel margin habitat.”

He further argues that the old WaterFix plan is outdated and now newer technologies (desalination, replacing lawns with desert landscaping, etc.) are more cost effective and more appropriate for SWP’s stated long-term goal of reducing reliance on the Delta.

He effectively argues that the old tunnel approach is not appropriate given climate change. He presents interesting facts and backup information about how the SWP is the biggest consumer of electricity in the state, and how pumping water over the Tehachapis to send Delta water to L.A. is a huge percentage of that power cost, definitely not in line with today’s climate change conservation goals.

This is a document worth reading. The appendices in the back include the testimony provided at the Water Board Hearings and Delta Stewardship Council which resulted in the prior WaterFix being remanded back to the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) to be corrected. One appendix also is the survey clearly showing how tunnel construction would practically end boating in the Delta.

BOTTOM LINE: The new NOP is just the old WaterFix with one tunnel instead of two, but none of the issues have been resolved.

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