For several years now the state of California, federal agencies and citizens of California have been working to create a balanced plan to restore the San Francisco Bay-Delta and provide a more stable environment for its millions of fish and wildlife. This is a most critically important watershed, not only because it teams with fish and wildlife, but because it provides all or some of the water for...
For several years now the state of California, federal agencies and citizens of California have been working to create a balanced plan to restore the San Francisco Bay-Delta and provide a more stable environment for its millions of fish and wildlife. This is a most critically important watershed, not only because it teams with fish and wildlife, but because it provides all or some of the water for 25 million Californians. At issue over the past decade has been the negative impacts of increased water diversions, toxic inflows from tributaries and run-off, as well as invasive species. As a result many fish species have become endangered, and listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Of great importance has been the negative impacts on the central valley salmon populations, all of which moved toward extinction.
Over the past 5 years water contractors have led a process to try to capture and divert increased amounts of the estuary’s water for use by cities and agriculture. Scientific analysis has shown this is inappropriate, and the estuary needs more water to support its fish and wildlife, as well as the farming and cities of the Delta itself. State and federal wildlife agencies have been clear in pointing out deficiencies in the current plan. The state legislature has mandated that the process find a balanced solution between water reliability and environmental recovery, while recognizing that the Delta and its communities must be allowed to thrive. It is clear that a balanced solution means reduced reliance on the S.F. Bay-Delta for water.
A major part of the current plan includes the installation of a massive water diversion facility on the Sacramento River, costing $14-20 billion. The Governor recently announced that he will propose building this structure, with a 9,000 cubic foot pumping capacity, but a 15,000 cubic foot diversion capacity. I call on all of you to rethink this decision and look more closely at other alternatives. Modifying the current through-Delta process to be more protective of fish and wildlife has never been analyzed. There are good alternatives available that could protect fish and wildlife, protect against sea-level rise and seismic risk, and maintain water quality for the Delta communities. They need to be thoroughly analyzed!
I recognize these decisions are difficult, and much depends on "getting it right." The current plan simply has too much cost and risk - to fish and to the Delta communities. A solution is very possible with through-Delta conveyance if done correctly, and its costs would be much lower. Developing a plan that reduces reliance on the S.F. Bay-Delta for water, develops alternative water supply strategies, and uses the Delta for water conveyance is the right direction today. I ask you to stop the decision process now, and wait until a thorough evaluation is completed.
Thank you for your consideration.