Rather than reigniting the water wars of the past, it would make better sense for the farmers of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, along with big agribusiness and the millions of Northern and Southern Californians who rely on water from the delta, to instead consider the shared benefits of the proposed tunnels and the repair of the delta. The project to build tunnels carrying freshwater from the Sacramento River to southbound aqueducts guards against the impacts of a major earthquake that would flood local farms, render the freshwater of the Delta undrinkable and further destroy the estuary.
Let’s get over the old water wars and make sure that the Hatfield-McCoy feud remains the subject of history books and television drama and nothing more.
Billie C. Greer
The writer is president of the Southern California Leadership Council.
Here are a few reasons why digging twin tunnels under the delta is an enormous mistake:
- It’s not necessary. There are alternative plans that have been put forward that will avoid the need to spend $14 billion to build the tunnels.
- It’s a bad investment. The University of the Pacific has produced an analysis that shows that the cost of the project is more than twice the benefits.
- It’s not affordable. The project would spike water rates for Southern Californians without providing any additional water.
- There are better alternatives. Another plan would cost no more than $4 billion and protect against earthquakes, sea level rise and floods by reinforcing existing levees above current standards.
The tunnels would haunt California’s ecological and economic future for years to come. Building them would be a mistake.
Nick Di Croce
The writer is co-facilitator of the California Environmental Water Caucus.