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Restore the Delta Criticizes Two Water Plans

Restore the Delta Criticizes Two Water Plans:
BDCP will “Fail to Restore Estuary,”
Water Board must Restore Flows to San Joaquin River
Testifies at Two Public Hearings

SACRAMENTO, CA – Restore the Delta (RTD), a coalition opposed to the Brown Administration’s rush to construct massive Peripheral Tunnels to take millions of acre-feet of water from the Delta, today said the revised BDCP proposal for Peripheral Tunnels to export Sacramento/San Joaquin/San Francisco Bay Delta water, mainly to benefit unsustainable mega-farms on the west side of the Central Valley, is still “fatally flawed.”

The coalition also criticized the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) for failing to rectify years of water quality violations on the San Joaquin River and South Delta, failing to increase river flows sufficiently to restore salmon and steelhead

Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, executive director of Restore the Delta told the public hearing, “The BDCP will simply fail to restore the estuary. The proposed plan for the San Joaquin Rivers also fails to rectify years of water quality violations in the San Joaquin River and South Delta. That plan also fails to increase flows sufficiently to restore salmon and steelhead in the San Joaquin River. It fails to balance the public trust. And it fails to protect all parties equally dependent on the health of the San Joaquin River, by giving priority status and protection to upstream users – all at the expense of water users on the lower San Joaquin River, Delta farmers, Delta residents, and Delta fisheries.

The San Joaquin River plan does, however, ensure that water exporters do not have to give up one drop of water for river and Delta restoration. And it sets a dangerous precedent for how flow standards for the Sacramento River will be set if the twin tunnels are constructed and brought into operation.

Language in the BDCP Administrative draft, in the water facilities and operations section, does nothing to reassure us that this project will be operated any differently than the pumps are at Tracy in the present. An adaptive management process for which a standard for cannot be set because agreement cannot be reached on the importance of spring and fall outflows is not a plan. Asking the public through higher water rates and/or taxes to pay for theses tunnels, probably the first or second most costly public works project in the history of California, without understanding in advance how they will be operated, is incomprehensible. We are told to trust the regulating agencies. Well we are all learning today how well that is working out for the San Joaquin River.”

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