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Biased Delta Tunnels Poll Delivers Bogus Results: PPIC receives funding from tunnels backers

For Immediate Release: March 28, 2017
Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, 209-479-2053, [email protected]

Biased Delta Tunnels Poll Delivers Bogus Results
PPIC receives funding from tunnels backers

Stockton, CA – Last week the Public Policy Institute of California released their annual survey of “Californians and Their Government.” Crosstabs here.
Immediately, the Stewart Resnick-funded, pro-tunnels lobby group Californians for Water Security hailed the PPIC polls results with a press release “77% of Californians Think Governor’s California WaterFix is Important to the State’s Future.”
While that is an accurate portrayal of the poll results, ethical public polling requires the strict avoidance of biased questions that may change the accuracy of the survey. In the parlance of polling, the question the PPIC asked is known as a “Leading Question.” Such questions attempt to lead respondents into giving the “correct” answer.
The PPIC question asked:
“The governor has proposed to improve the reliability of water supplies by building tunnels in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. How important is this proposal for the future quality of life and economic vitality of California?”

This qualifies as a Leading Question because it suggests that the Delta Tunnels proposal will “improve the reliability of water supplies.” There is simply is no justification for such a claim. In fact, a large policy dispute currently underway is over whether the Delta Tunnels will actually function as advertised in either drought or flood conditions. The tunnels will not be available for use over 52% during dry conditions, and during high water events like the last several months, their experimental fish screens and sedimentation ponds couldn’t handle the sediment and brush that floats downstream fast enough to function as designed. Tunnel operators will have to seek temporary change petitions with the State Water Resources Control Board during droughts to take water, just like they do now.
Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Executive Director of Restore the Delta said, “Unfortunately, PPIC has again put their hands on the scale in favor of the Delta Tunnels boondoggle. Californians deserve a non-biased, objective, policy institute that doesn’t play these games in order to appease donors.”
The PPIC Water Policy Center receives funding from advocates for the Delta Tunnels including The Almond Board of California, Association of California Water Agencies, S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation, Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, and Stewart Resnick’s Wonderful Company, recently featured in the film Water & Power: A California Heist.

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