The BDCP is not the right plan for the 21st century, says the Sierra Club in a newly released white paper. It would accelerate the decline of the Delta and do nothing to reverse the damage related to the flow changes and it merely recycles an old idea rejected by voters decades ago that if built, would burden Californians statewide with the financial and environmental impacts of an unnecessary and costly project, the paper says.
Instead, the paper says the state can meet its water demand by using a combination of strategies such as improved conservation and water use efficiency in both the urban and agricultural sectors, local groundwater and surface storage, conjunctive management, recycled water, groundwater remediation and groundwater desalination. Furthermore, the paper recommends that policies that reinforce the use of improved technologies such as graywater re-use or industrial recycling should be employed or expanded; existing regulations that require proof of adequate water supply for new development should be tightened; mandatory groundwater monitoring and reporting plans should be enacted statewide; and existing landscaping programs to reduce outdoor use should be revisited to ensure maximum participation statewide.
“California can meet its water demand sustainable and reliably by focusing investment in recycling, conservation, water efficiency, and better groundwater management for both urban and agricultural users,” the paper states. “The list of alternatives in this document is not exhaustive, but it demonstrates that there are reasonable ways to meet California’s water demand without building the tunnels.”