Newsletter

From an LA Perspective: Solutions & Costs on Delta Tunnels

A year ago roughly, Roger Patterson from the Metropolitan Water District said that he would invite Dr. Jeff Michael, from the University of the Pacific to make a presentation to the Metropolitan Water District Board of Directors on the real costs of the Delta tunnels.   The invitation never happened.   So we hosted a meeting on the real costs of the tunnels with Dr. Michael as our special guest in Los Angeles at Boyle Heights City Hall. Here is a copy of Dr. Jeffrey Michael’s PowerPoint,  which explains the real costs of the Delta Tunnels Project.   Executive Director of LA WaterKeeper, Bruce Reznik, also gave a terrific presentation on the types of regional projects that should be done in Los [...]

Independent Science Review Panel Finds Problems with Delta Tunnels Biological Opinion

(Science Geek Edition)   An analysis by an Independent Review Panel has been made public by the Delta Stewardship Council (DSC).   The panel was convened by the DSC Science Program to provide the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and California Department of Fish and Wildlife with an independent analysis of the scientific information used in the California WaterFix (CWF) Incidental Take Permit application.   “This report suggests that the biological opinion has flaws and that the Delta Tunnels will be terrible for Delta fish – those that live here year round as well as those just passing through on their way to and from the Pacific Ocean,” said Tim Stroshane, Policy Analyst for Restore [...]

Metropolitan Water District: The Absentee Landlord

By Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Executive Director, Restore the Delta   In 2016, Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD), the largest of the State Water Contractors, spent $175 million to purchase Delta islands. Now they are trying to lease land back to the original owners, SemiTropic Water Storage Agency. MWD has learned that maintenance of Delta levees, water pumping, and water use tracking are big expenses for Delta landowners.   Similarly, Oroville Dam maintenance is expensive. Though warned in 2005 that the spillway was potentially dangerous, MWD and the other State Water Contractors fought against the maintenance and upgrades needed to keep downriver residents safe.   Now let’s consider MWD’s next big money item, the proposed Delta Tunnels.   That project [...]

Oppose Assembly Bill 313

By Tim Stroshane, Policy Analyst, Restore the Delta   Claiming that California’s “water management at the state level is broken,” Assembly member Adam C. Gray (D-Merced) plugged introduction of his Assembly Bill 313 via Maven’s Notebook on February 6, 2017.   In his cliché-ridden press release, Mr. Gray argues that “anyone who has tried to work with the state on water knows that the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing, conflicts of interest are the norm, and state agencies act as their own prosecution, judge and jury. The net effect,” he contends, “is an ineffective bureaucratic maze which leaves us unable to capitalize on vital opportunities and prioritizes special interests working behind the scenes over good [...]

Delta Flows: What Exactly is California DWR Selling Bonds For?

by Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, executive director, Restore the Delta October 12, 2016 UPDATE at 12:00 today: DWR will delay their response to our PRA request. Mr. Stroshane, Your California Public Records Act request (attached) sent to Director Mark Cowin has been forwarded to me for review and response. I’m replying to your request pursuant to the California Public Records Act, Government Code sections 6250 et seq. The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) has determined it maintains records responsive to your request. The records you request are maintained in separate file locations at DWR. We anticipate these records may be voluminous and will require a significant amount of time to locate, assemble and review. DWR is presently collecting and reviewing these [...]

Delta People Should Shut Up, Again

by Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla and Tim Stroshane Restore the Delta   Remember back in May of 2015 when Jerry Brown suggested critics of his Delta Tunnels plan should “shut up?”   Well, now Californians for Water Security are also asking SF Bay-Delta activists to please shut up. That’s not surprising coming from an astroturf lobbying campaign, launched with the support of the Paramount Farming/The Wonderful Company (Resnick). See the email traffic on group’s founding, released under the California Public Records Act.   What caused this new round of scolding by backers of the Delta Tunnels? Two things.   Most recently, they were upset about the news we released on a state-funded, economic analysis that found the Delta Tunnels are not feasible [...]

Should State Agencies Be Lobbying for the Delta Tunnels?

A recent email forwarded from one of our supporters seemed innocuous enough. The subject line read: “Op-Ed: WaterFix provides solution to California’s water woes.” These kind of emails are shared every day by people who follow California water policy. What was strange about this email was the sender, a government agency. From: CALIFORNIA NATURAL RESOURCES AGENCY The email was a heads up regarding an op-ed from Mike Mielke with the Silicon Valley Leadership Group arguing in favor of the Delta Tunnels (CA WaterFix). Pretty standard stuff. What seemed odd is when the email clearly wanders into grassroots advocacy: “Share Mike’s op-ed and these stats to make sure people know how crucial WaterFix is to securing clean water for 25 million [...]

Climate Change, California Water, and the Delta Tunnels

The Problem   In California, drought is the new normal.   Delta Tunnel proponents have tried to convince urban and agricultural water exporters that massive water deliveries will be available for capture and export to dry regions from big storm events.   Just one problem with that plan.   With less and less Sierra snowpack to melt, and fewer rainstorm events, there is no reliable water source for the Big Gulp. If constructed, using the Delta Tunnels at full capacity, 9,000 cfs (cubic feet per second), would only be possible during limited storm events, a huge waste of money for a project with a $17 billion price tag.   Most scientists agree that the key to fixing the ecological problems [...]

From the Golden Gate to the Tower Bridge

One night, two events, two different views on managing California water Last Wednesday night, folks interested in California water had two big public events to choose from. One was a slick and very political sales pitch; the other was a thoughtful discussion of science. One event was held at the Sacramento Bee headquarters, and the other at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco. Both were happening at the exact same moment and the contrast between the two serves as fascinating bookends of an ongoing battle over how to best plan for California’s water future. Restore the Delta was at both events. Here is our report. Sacramento At the Sacramento Bee event, General Manager of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern [...]

Delta Flows: Will Senator Feinstein Defend the San Francisco Bay-Delta Estuary?

Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Restore the Delta June 3, 2016   It may be time to admit a sad truth – the anticipated 2015-16 El Niño did not end California’s drought. Most of the rain and snow fell in the north. Southern California received only about half its normal rainfall. In fact, the State Water Resources Control Board began sending out yesterday water curtailment notices, orders that tell junior water rights holders that they cannot use water. Senator Dianne Feinstein recently toured California newspaper editorial boards to tout her California Drought Bill, S.2533, which she claims will expedite water deliveries to agricultural interests in the southwestern San Joaquin Valley while still protecting endangered fish in the SF Bay-Delta Estuary. As Senator Feinstein [...]