Governor Newsom says he will pursue single tunnel option; appoints Joaquin Esquivel as Chair of the Water Board
Governor Newsom delivered the State of the State address this morning. Here’s what he had to say about water:
“We also need a fresh approach when it comes to meeting California’s massive water challenges.
We have a big state with diverse water needs. Cities that need clean water to drink, farms that need irrigation to keep feeding the world, fragile ecosystems that must be protected.
Our water supply is becoming less reliable because of climate change. And our population is growing because of a strong economy. That means a lot of demand on an unpredictable supply. There are no easy answers. But let me be direct about where I stand:
I do not support the Water Fix as currently configured. Meaning, I do not support the twin tunnels. But we can build on the important work that’s already been done. That’s why I do support a single tunnel.
The status quo is not an option.
We need to protect our water supply from earthquakes and rising sea levels, preserve delta fisheries, and meet the needs of cities and farms.
We have to get past the old binaries, like farmers versus environmentalists, or North versus South. Our approach can’t be “either/or.” It must be “yes/and.”
Conveyance and efficiency. And recycling projects like we’re seeing in Southern California’s Met Water District, expanding floodplains in the Central Valley, groundwater recharge, like farmers are doing in Fresno County. We need a portfolio approach to building water infrastructure and meeting long-term demand.
To help bring this balance, I’m appointing a new chair of the California water board, Joaquin Esquivel.
Our first task is to cross the finish line on real agreements to save the Sacramento-San Joaquin Bay Delta.
We must get this done – for the resilience of our mighty rivers, the stability of our agriculture sector, and the millions who depend on this water every day.
Now, let’s talk honestly about clean drinking water.
Just this morning, more than a million Californians woke up without clean water to bathe in or drink. Some schools have shut down drinking fountains due to contamination. Some poorer communities, like those I visited recently in Stanislaus County, are paying more for undrinkable water than Beverly Hills pays for its pristine water.
This is a moral disgrace and a medical emergency. There are literally hundreds of water systems across the state contaminated by lead, arsenic, or uranium.
Solving this crisis demands sustained funding. It demands political will.
Newsom kills controversial Delta twin tunnels plan
California’s new governor drops Jerry Brown’s plan, calls for one tunnel, smaller project
Coverage from the San Jose Mercury News:
In a major shift in one of the largest proposed public works projects in state history, California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Tuesday announced he does not support former Gov. Jerry Brown’s $19 billion plan to build two massive tunnels under the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta to make it easier to move water from north to south.
Newsom, in his first state-of-the-state speech since taking office last month, said that instead, he will pursue a smaller, one-tunnel plan for the project, which Brown had called “WaterFix.”
“Let me be direct about where I stand,” Newsom said. “I do not support the Water Fix as currently configured. Meaning, I do not support the twin tunnels. But we can build on the important work that’s already been done. That’s why I do support a single tunnel.”