Opinion

The delta tunnels are exactly the kind of massive water project California should no longer build

To the editor: I live on the Sacramento River. Building and operating tunnels to divert water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta will destroy my community. (“Southern California needs water. Stop waffling over the delta tunnels and dig,” editorial, Oct. 7)

The levee roads were not made to handle the additional traffic of heavy vehicles that will be involved in the construction of the tunnels. The quality of the water here in the upper delta will be devastated by the tunnels, resulting in less water for recreation, fishing, irrigation and wells.

This area is filled with farming families who will be ruined when the water is ruined. The reduction in income will mean local businesses will go under. Fisheries in the San Francisco Bay will be affected.

Building a tunnel system underneath the delta is some kind of crazy crusade by Gov. Jerry Brown. It makes no sense.

Susan Caston, Walnut Grove

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To the editor: Your editorial’s final paragraph contradicts the need for the delta tunnels by listing the real solutions for shoring up California’s future water supplies: reclamation, recapture and reuse.

These methods and other “soft path” solutions have been conclusively shown to provide the amount of water needed for California’s future growth.

There is no need to spend $17 billion (or more) for an unproven technical fix such as the delta tunnels. In other words, we need the delta tunnels like we need a giant hole in the head.

Nick Di Croce, Solvang

The writer is a senior advisor to the Environmental Water Caucus.

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To the editor: Salmon fishermen who live and die by water-allocation decisions take exception to your assertion the tunnels will only allow water to be diverted during wet winter storm pulses and that the physical infrastructure will be only as environmentally responsible as the laws and regulations that govern it.

The truth is, water will be taken, as it is now, even when there are no storm pulses and when every drop is instead needed to maintain or restore the native wildlife.

In addition, the two 40-foot-wide tunnels, large enough to divert the entire Sacramento River for much of the year, are already far bigger than what is environmentally responsible.

The history of California’s big water projects demonstrates two things: First, only the size of the infrastructure can guarantee diversion limits, and second, those who operate the giant water projects cannot be trusted to safeguard the environment and salmon fishing jobs in times of drought.

John McManus, San Francisco

The writer is executive director of the Golden Gate Salmon Assn.

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To the editor: As long as the human population continues to grow, achieving a sustainable water supply will never be possible. There is not an infinite amount of water on the Earth.

At some point the population must not only stop growing, but start declining. It will happen, and our choices today will determine whether the process is peaceful or traumatic.

Yeah, we need these delta tunnels, but building them to shore up our water supply is futile without meaningful action on population control.

Gregg Ferry, Carlsbad

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To the editor: The struggling delta ecosystem will suffer further stress in coming years, both from future droughts and from rising sea levels, which will increase saltwater intrusion.

As a result, large-scale water diversion projects like the twin tunnels are inconsistent with a healthy delta ecosystem.

While the various “through delta” approaches may stabilize water diversion to Southern California during drought years, the delta as a water source for us must be viewed as a declining asset.

Southern California needs to generate additional water regionally through conservation, reuse, desalination and revised land planning. Related to this effort is acknowledging that by sourcing water regionally in a sustainable manner, it will become more expensive.

Ed Salisbury, Santa Monica

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