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Our response to Gov. Brown’s SoCal Speaking Tour on California Drought

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, June 9, 2015
Contact: Steve Hopcraft 916/457-5546; [email protected]; Twitter: @shopcraft;
Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla 209/479-2053 [email protected]; Twitter: @RestoretheDelta

Tunnels Opponents Respond to Gov. Brown

Sacramento, CA- Restore the Delta (RTD), the leading opponents of Gov. Brown’s rush to build massive underground water tunnels that would drain the Delta and doom sustainable farms, salmon and other Pacific fisheries, today responded to Gov. Brown’s continued advocacy of his tunnels.

“A month after telling critics of his Delta tunnels plan to ‘shut up,’ Governor Brown is on a Southern California speaking tour to tout his leadership during the drought. This follows on the heels of Senator Dianne Feinstein’s recent op-ed in the LA Times in which she continues to beat the drum for greater flexibility in managing water exports from the north part of the state to the south,” said Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, RTD executive director. “It’s a shame that they both have forgotten the impacts of the drought on the San Francisco Bay-Delta estuary, which is on the verge of an ecological collapse, or the impacts of the drought on Delta farmers, who have voluntarily cut water use by 25%.”

Both Governor Brown and Senator Feinstein continue to push forward a sixty-year-old vision of building big projects to move water from one part of the state to the other, claiming all the while it is for the benefit of Southern California residents. Yet, historically, 70% of the water taken from the Delta has gone, and continues to go, to big agribusiness growers like Stewart Resnick, who has publicly stated that he plans to expand his almond empire holdings by 50% over the next five years.

The pumps have yet to be shut off one day during this four-year drought. Los Angeles water districts said they needed about 700,000 acre-feet of water for health and human safety. Yet, we know that 1.5 million acre-feet have been exported thus far this year, and the pumps continue pumping. Who is receiving that water and for what purpose?

This is all part of Governor Brown’s shell game for the Delta tunnels. Use fear of disaster to sell people scared by the drought on the need for the Delta tunnels. Get urban ratepayers and property tax payers to pay for the project. Deliver the water to the hedge fund and conglomerate agribusiness growers on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley.

Governor Brown’s drought orders, and Senator Feinstein’s secretive Federal legislation, place the bull’s eye squarely on the back of Delta fisheries and communities. Their response to the drought has been to throw Delta water quality standards out the window, standards which were created through science and administrative legal hearings. This is why we, along with our environmental partners, filed a lawsuit last week against the Bureau of Reclamation and the State Water Resources Control Board. It isn’t about favoring smelt over our Southern California neighbors.

“With good investments in water conservation, recycling, storm water capture, cisterns, and other water savings technologies, we can take care of our urban centers and Delta fisheries. What we cannot sustain is subsidizing water for the top 1% of growers at the expense of the most magnificent estuary on the west coast of the Americas,” said Barrigan-Parrilla. “It’s time for Governor Brown to stop carrying water for special interests and to show leadership in creating water programs that benefit ALL Californians.”

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  • Carolyn Ellis
    June 9, 2015, 9:16 pm

    After many years of using local lakes for recreation, we went to, and fell in love with, the Delta last year. The unsustainable and reckless ideals of our current governor must be stopped to protect such a special place. I travel through the central valley often on my way to southern California and cant believe how farmers around the end of the valley expect so much water to farm in such an unfertile and dry area; all the while stealing water from our areas fertile and productive farmlands. I also see the abundance of lush landscape in So Cal while in truth this area is desert! Stop watering multiple yards and filling pools! I pay a fire tax–where is a pool tax? I have decided to become an advocate for this cause–the bottom line of the tunnel project is to devastating to consider.

  • Ed Linscheid
    June 9, 2015, 11:44 pm

    Shipping water south and not letting it to go naturally to flush out our rivers and be used locally is not is not how is is intended for our farms / fish / and our residents!!! Stop this abuse!!

  • Cliff Coler
    June 10, 2015, 2:28 am

    The devastation that will result with more water diverted to Southen California, can be demonstrated with an 8th grade level science experiment. Why didn’t the millions of dollars spent studying this reveal the truth? Because time and time again, politicians slant scientific results to support their aganda. I only hope the tunnel project can be thwarted befor irrevocable harm is done to the delta Ecological system.

  • Chris Gilbert
    June 11, 2015, 4:23 am

    Every time I visit S. California — my in-laws lived in Riverside for many years; we have friends in S. Pasadena — I see pristine green lawns & water from sprinklers flowing down the street at all times of the day. Until S. Calif. can give up their lawns and wasteful usage, no more water from N. California.

  • Jean Ford
    June 12, 2015, 4:50 am

    I watched an interview with Jerry Brown on Link TV 6/11/2013. He says the tunnels are “unsustainable and with eventually need to be turned off” It seems to me that the turning off should be now not after another 5-10 yrs of “scientific study to determine a plan”. Our delta will be irretrievably changed in that amount of time, to the negative. What can we do about this disastrous course of action?

  • Steve
    June 13, 2015, 5:51 am

    we watched 6/12/2015 Gov Brown on Socal. He is a grand dreamer, which is not a bad thing in itself. I respect him deeply but a question was asked and he just rambled on. The question was posed by someone like us – we are the same ages and have a little organic garden. We cannot keep it alive without breaking the law. We have written Gov Brown, our senator, assembly person and SWRCB. We have spoken with some of these people. While they acknowledge that they never intended for us to lose a drip irrigation garden, no one yet has made any changes that would solve the problem, except one individual somewhere in the chain we talked with who suggested off the record to just water the garden and break the law. Gov. Brown did a great job balancing the budget, but he needs to assign this problem to someone else who is better equipped to make the changes expediently that need to be made before more plants and living things die for lack of water. We will be cutting down 6 trees that drink too much water because of the way this water is being rationed. Some are mature but showing signs of stress. SO much for CO2 sequestration that the governor talks about. Yes, there are consequences of not thinking through the whole process. The trees shade the house as well so up will go electricity on hot days. So much for reducing power consumption.

  • Jack
    June 14, 2015, 6:35 am

    If everyone calls the Governors’ office and their state and federal legislators and you voice your dissatisfaction with the Governor’s tunnel plan it will not happen. When you make phone calls, they listen. I’ve been doing that and it makes a difference but it has to happen in numbers.