“The new draft [of the California WaterFix] does not consider the full range of alternatives available to meet the legally required coequal goals of water supply and ecosystem restoration in the Delta,” Garamendi said in his public comment. “The divorce of California EcoRestore from the conveyance facility only reinforces the fact that this project is not about protecting the environment, but rather about building a plumbing system that will harm the Delta and San Francisco Bay without creating a drop of new water.”
Congressman Garamendi was also deeply disappointed that Governor Jerry Brown, in his public comment, said that opposition to his multi-billion dollar twin tunnel boondoggle is “shameful and do[es] a profound disservice to California’s future.”
Congressman Garamendi responded to the Governor, saying, “No, Governor, what is shameful is to propose a multi-billion dollar boondoggle that presents an existential threat to the Delta communities you represent and that doesn’t create a drop of new water for the state. The real disservice is the attempt to force the state into an intractable water war when Californians have reached an overwhelming consensus that we should invest in water conservation, recycling, and storage projects that will make more water available for all Californians. You still have an opportunity to be a unifying water leader and to leave the lasting legacy of water infrastructure that makes our great state more resilient in drought and flood years. I’d rather not waste my time refighting this peripheral canal in sheep’s clothing, but I will continue to fight this if I must. I will do everything possible to prevent a project that could destroy the Delta be built under my watch.”
In 1982, Governor Brown proposed a peripheral canal that would have also devastated the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Then-State Senator Garamendi helped lead the fight against Proposition 9, the peripheral canal proposition, and ultimately 62.7% of California voters rejected the peripheral canal. In many Northern California counties, more than 90% of Californians rejected this flawed project.
Metropolitan Water District board Chairman Randy Record and General Manager Jeffrey Kightlinger issue the following statement on the end of the public comment period for recirculated draft environmental documents for the Bay Delta Conservation Plan/California WaterFix process:
“After nine years and scores of meetings and opportunities for input, the planning phase
in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta is now approaching the action phase,” Chairman Record said. “While we still have considerable work ahead, we must find a path to a solution that works for the California economy and Delta environment.”
General Manager Kightlinger said, “Metropolitan is grateful for all the work by Gov.
Brown and the state and federal agencies to advance this process. We hope to be constructive participants to craft a final plan that has sufficient water supplies to merit this considerable investment while protecting the Delta’s fragile environment. With continued hard work, we can find that balance.”
From Sacramento County Supervisors:
Sacramento County’s elected county supervisors, today, raised strong objections over the direction of the Brown Administration’s policies to build two 40-foot in diameter tunnels, affecting the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta as embodied in the re-circulated environmental documents branded as the “California WaterFix.”
“It’s really a misnomer to call this a California WaterFix because it doesn’t fix the water challenges facing California, nor does it provide any new water…it creates more problems if anything. If this comes to fruition, the people of the Delta region lose, not just now, but for generations to come,” said Supervisor Don Nottoli.
“The new proposal is flat out deceptive,” said Supervisor Susan Peters. “I’m so disappointed in what the state has put out. Beyond disappointed – angry.”
“The logic behind the state’s latest approach is baffling to me,” commented Supervisor Patrick Kennedy. “There’s not a drop of new water created here and they’ve eliminated the best parts of the environmental restoration efforts that have been put forward during this nine-year process.”
“It’s incredibly disingenuous for the state to suggest that the WaterFix proposal will do anything but adversely affect the people and environment of Sacramento County,” added Phil Serna, Chairman of the Board of Supervisors. “Our Board remains united in our opposition to any plan that hurts the people and place we represent.”
“The BDCP/WaterFix does not provide the necessary assurances and protections for the Delta,” said Supervisor Roberta McGlashan. “It is a flawed approach for managing our precious water resources.”
The re-branded approach by the State has bifurcated the former BDCP into two components: The California WaterFix (the twin-tunnel project) and EcoRestore (collection of separate Delta habitat restoration projects/programs). The WaterFix carves out the twin tunnel project from the larger habitat restoration/mitigation measures of the BDCP and is being pursued under a separate permit solely for the construction of the tunnels.
EcoRestore will pursue habitat creation/restoration on a different process and timeline than the WaterFix. The twin-tunnel project no longer has a direct dependence on the success of the broader habitat restoration measures of the former BDCP.
The recirculated environmental document prepared for the “WaterFix” essentially describes a massive public works water supply project benefitting a limited portion of the state. Revisions to the project, primarily moving the pumps to the downstream end of the tunnels, do little to alleviate the County’s long list of concerns about the resulting irreversible impacts to the entire Delta region.
Sacramento County is concerned with impacts to the Delta’s thriving agriculture industry, infrastructure (road and utilities), water supply, flood protection and socioeconomics as the approval of the project could result in the destruction of the Delta as we know it today.
Among Sacramento County’s chief concerns with the WaterFix are the following points:
• It proposes to irreversibly change, and in many instances permanently destroy, the generations-old socioeconomic fabric and physical landscape of the Delta.
• It will not produce a single drop of more water, but will leave a legacy of negative impacts on the Delta, its economy, and its people.
• The tunnels have a 10-12 year construction period and will result in major negative impacts to the lives of Delta residents, the local and regional economy, and its irreplaceable natural resources.
• It neither solves California’s water management problems nor helps to address the Delta’s degrading ecosystem.
• Water modeling continues to show the Folsom Reservoir likely going to “dead pool” approximately once every 10 years, severely impacting access to surface water (the primary source of water) for significant urban populations in Sacramento, Placer, and El Dorado counties. This would severely impact the region’s larger economy, property values, and livability.
From the San Luis & Delta Mendota Water Agency & Westlands Water District:
With today’s closure of the public comment period for the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP)/California WaterFix’s Partially Recirculated Draft Environmental Impact Review (EIR) documents, the San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority, and Westlands Water District released the following:
Over the past decade, we have invested heavily in the form of financial support, manpower, and countless hours working toward a solution on a project that would be beneficial to the co-equal goals of habitat restoration and water supply reliability. As we have stated in the recent past, additional work needs to be done before the California WaterFix will provide a dependable and affordable solution for public water agencies that receive water from the Central Valley Project. We believe that for the long-term health of the State of California, a solution is necessary. Therefore, we hope that as the process continues, the operational criteria will be reflective of the needs of the entire state because the current path would result in tens of millions of dollars of investment with nothing to show for it.
Other reactions to the close of the comment period: