BDCP has published a fact sheet congratulating themselves on coming up with a “21st Century Strategy” that is a big improvement on last century’s peripheral canal plan. For readers who missed Restore the Delta’s full response, here are some salient points:
- 35 miles of tunnel are less of an eyesore than 43 miles of open canal, but the Bay-Delta Estuary will be dewatered just the same. And the lack of turnouts for surface water releases actually represents a step backward.
- The canal would have had a capacity of 21,800 cubic feet per second (cfs), whereas the tunnels will take 9,000 cfs – a figure described as “tentative” on the fact sheet. However, the tunnels themselves will have a capacity of 15,000 cfs, so BDCP planner haven’t limited their long-term options.
- The canal had one intake; BDCP calls for three intakes. But DFG doesn’t know how well fish can recover from each intake encounter. And the fish screens needed for this new system haven’t even been designed, much less tested.
- Improvements to storage have been made as a result of local water projects. BDCP will divert funding from many more local projects that could actually add more water to the state system.
- The same agencies that are now responsible for the health of Delta fisheries will be in charge of environmental protections for the BDCP. Simply rewriting a plan will not bring about proper enforcement.
The BDCP fact sheet takes credit for applying new technical information to seismic, sea level rise, and subsidence risk, information that wasn’t available in 1982. But a good deal of Delta science has been conducted by institutes and engineering firms that will profit from re-engineering the Delta. Delta experts on levees and earthquakes have been left out of research and planning within the BDCP process.