There are many alternatives to a Delta Tunnel that would not destroy the Delta and would actually produce more water and water storage. They need to be implemented instead of the current through-Delta tunnel project.

Most include a variety of measures to decrease reliance on the Delta and improve regional self-sufficiency throughout the state. Components of any responsible plan must consider:

  • Conservation.
  • Desalination.
  • Recycling.
  • Restoring the Tulare Lake Basin: a huge natural lake in the Central Valley that for years before it was dried up by the cotton farmers was a natural percolating system, restoring ground water tables and aquifers.
  • Improving the Delta with the right-sized conveyance (constructed around the Delta, not through it), levee improvements, and opportunistic habitat restoration. Two options: The Eastern Alignment or the Western Alignment discussed below.
  • Using overpumped groundwater systems to store water in wet years to use in dry years—so-called “conjunctive use or “Little Sip/Big Gulp.”
  • Retiring drainage-impaired, salt-affected farmland in the Central Valley (Westlands Water District) that is polluting the ground water and the San Joaquin River.

Specific plans that have been produced and sent to the Bay Delta Conservation Plan for evaluation include:

One suggestion is to reconsider the Western Alignment Alternative. Several proposals have been made to route the tunnel(s) long the Western Alignment option proposed in the BDCP, ending by Sherman Island. Either Dr. Pyke’s idea of building a holding area on Sherman Island and/or later proposals to take that water, run it through a desalination process, and ship the cleaned water to the Clifton Court Forebay would assure that salinity is not allowed to flow into the central Delta. This also would avoid taking the construction through the most sensitive areas of the Delta.

Bottom Line

If a tunnel is built in the Delta, the construction cannot go through the Delta (as is currently planned) without destroying everything about the Delta the Legislature, Delta communities, and STCDA are trying to save.


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