[env-trinity] Redding.com Editorial: No new water via twin tunnels? Plan has other idea

Tom Stokely tstokely at att.net
Fri Nov 1 09:06:43 PDT 2013

Editorial: No new water via twin tunnels? Plan has other idea
	* Posted October 31, 2013 at 6 p.m.
Proponents of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan — the multibillion-dollar effort to both restore the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and replumb it to pipe Sacramento Riverwater south — frequently claim the project isn’t about taking any new water from the North State, but merely ensuring the existing supplies flow more reliably and predictably.
Well, maybe. But if they ever get those predictable flows, the next thing folks down south will want is more water. And sometimes they tip their cards.
Several state agencies on Thursday released a “Water Action Plan” to offer a map through California’s chronic shortages as the population grows and a warming climate makes the mountain snowpack less reliable. Most of its ideas are sensible — making water conservation “a way of life,” encouraging more reliance on local water sources, better managing groundwater, improving flood control, streamlining permits so work gets done.
It also says the state needs to build more big reservoirs to store water — but notes a major hurdle: “finding committed financial partners who will benefit from the projects to share in their cost.” The irrigation districts and cities that would use the water, in other words, don’t want to pay for them.
Why not? A major reason for their hesitance, the Water Action Plan says, is “the uncertainty involved in moving water across the Delta.” Reduce that uncertainty with the giant twin tunnels, and new dams and reservoirs would be more likely to pencil out. “Partnerships to build additional water storage presumably would follow,” the section concludes.
So first they’ll build the tunnels to reroute the Sacramento River’s water. Then they’ll build the new reservoirs to claim the North State’s “surplus” water.
And somehow, the plan argues, they’ll use that water from the new reservoirs in part to help save the struggling wild fisheries, which of course have largely collapsed because of the big dams that formed the old reservoirs.
Maybe all this money must be spent simply to preserve California as we know it. But the Water Action Plan, while thick with good intentions, is a reminder that, to the rest of the state, our home up in the north remains a well to be pumped.
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