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Brown administration pushing ahead with Sacramento-San Joaquin delta plans

  Boat

The future of a multibillion-dollar project to reroute water shipments from Northern California and salvage the battered ecosytem of the Sacramento-San Joaquin delta started looking shaky late last year.

Irked that the project may not give them all the water they want, major San Joaquin Valley irrigation districts said they were walking away from the planning process. 

But in prepared remarks, a state water official made it clear Thursday that as far as the administration of Gov. Jerry Brown is concerned, the program is alive and vital to the millions of Californians who draw water from the delta.

Jerry Meral, the Brown administration's point man in the delta wars, canceled his appearance at a Los Angeles water policy conference because illness. His speech was delivered -- with a few wry asides -- by Randy Kanouse, a Bay Area water official who is a friend of Meral's but also a vocal critic of the delta project.

Meral did not endorse specifics of the plans, the latest version of which calls for extensive habitat restoration and construction of a huge tunnel system to carry Sacramento River water beneath the delta to southbound aqueducts.

But he emphasized that the current system of pumping from the south delta causes "great harm to the biology of the delta, while delivering relatively poor quality water under the constant threat of water supply interruptions, from court imposed sanctions to failing levees."

Meral, an environmentalist who handled water issues during Brown's first administration, said the expense of new facilities should be borne by the agencies supplied by the delta. "By absorbing the full cost of new water facilities, water users will receive price signals about the true cost of water, and will manage it accordingly," he said.

Meral insisted that delta management should be guided by science "unfiltered by political considerations."

And he acknowledged complaints that various organizations have been excluded from key decisions, suggesting the formation of working groups open to a broad array of interests that would hammer out contentious aspects of the delta proposal.

"More public involvement is necessary," Meral said. "In fact, it is critical for the results to be accepted by all."

RELATED:

Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta's ecological decline is breathing new life into bypass proposals

California urges tunnel system for delta

 --Bettina Boxall

Photo: A boat motors down a slough in the Sacramento River-San Joaqin delta near Rio Vista. Credit: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

 
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I do not know what percentage of Southern Californians have done to attempt to convert their water hungry lawns to a more sustainable xeriscape but my guess is less than 2%. New developments put in water features (man made lakes) for the enjoyment of the owners.....isn't that nice. Too much population and waste and then we read that they want to spend billions of dollars to continue that waste.

I think this is the best way to get to the bottom of waste;
I believe, in all fairness to the citizens of America, we should list the gross income amount reported to the IRS each year by every tax payer in America and place it on a special register or chart allowing it to be viewed on the internet. This way, no one can sway another with miss-information or rhetoric trying to obtain special advantages while in negotiations or communication in the Senate or House of Representatives. This would also be very accurate information for State, County and Cities to deal fairly with one another and people hired to work for these Government agencies. Anyone who is against this idea could possibly feel it would prevent him from using miss-information or rhetoric to gain unfair advantage for him and/or his colleagues. This would be transparencies at its best

This proposal would do nothing of benefit to the San Joaquin River which has been damaged by excessive water extraction for shipment to southern California. An oversized tunnel would simply allow greater extraction of water as per Metropolitan Water District's demands. Ultimately the courts will reverse it and then billions will have been wasted again. Let's just say no now and get on with the desalinization plant developments for SoCal water supply. Calling Meral an environmentalist is like calling Hitler a humanitarian.

Brown wants us ALL to share sacrifice in fixing the budget, even though I've done nothing wrong? Why should I be PUNISHED for the transgressions of our incompetent elected officials and greedy state employees? And in these austere times, a multi-billion dollar public works project is NOT what we need. How about putting a cap on new projects (e.g., population)? Water agencies should quit issuing "will serve" letters if they really don't have the acqueous inventory. This is the wrong project at the wrong time.

Yes! Kalifornia's government and workers have proven it can manage large dollar, large risk projects most efficiently.


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