Governor's Slightly Revised Tunnel Plan Hasn't Changed Sacramento County Supervisors' Thinking

They Say Plan Continues to Push State and Federal Delta Policies in Wrong Direction

SACRAMENTO, CA  October 27, 2015  – 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 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.

CONTACT:  Natasha Drane,  (916) 956-4786

CONTACT:  Chris Andis,  (916) 874-2691