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California | Central Valley | Environment & Forest Defense | Government & Elections

C-WIN slams Brown's call to build the twin tunnels
by Dan Bacher
Friday Jan 25th, 2013 6:57 PM
C-WIN’s Executive Director Carolee Krieger responded, “Governor Brown is not giving the full cost of the Peripheral Tunnels when he says it will cost $14 billion. The cost will easily exceed $60 billion by the time financing, cost overruns, mitigation, operations and maintenance are counted. Californians will spend billions for tunnels with not a drop more of water delivered to our cities and no benefits to the environment."

Photo of the Sacramento River at Hamilton City by Dan Bacher. Governor Jerry Brown wants to divert Sacramento River flows into the peripheral tunnels to send more water south to corporate agribusiness on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley and Southern California water agencies.
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Cost of peripheral tunnels will exceed $60 billion

by Dan Bacher

The California Water Impact Network (C-WIN), an organization working to promote the equitable and environmentally sensitive use of California’s water, criticized Governor Jerry Brown’s call in his State of the State address for two massive tunnels under the Delta to send Northern California water south - and revealed that the true cost of the tunnels will exceed $60 billion.

"My proposed plan is two tunnels 30 miles long and 40 feet wide, designed to improve the ecology of the Delta, with almost 100 square miles of habitat restoration," claimed Brown. "Yes, that is big but so is the problem."

"The London Olympics lasted a short while and cost $14 billion, about the same cost as this project," Brown stated.

Carolee Krieger, Executive Director of C-WIN (http://www.c-win.org), responded, “Governor Brown is not giving the full cost of the Peripheral Tunnels when he says it will cost $14 billion. The cost will easily exceed $60 billion by the time financing, cost overruns, mitigation, operations and maintenance are counted. Californians will spend billions for tunnels with not a drop more of water delivered to our cities and no benefits to the environment."

"Santa Barbara is the poster child for underestimating water project costs- ratepayers were told in 1991 it would cost $270 million to get Delta water but spent $1.76 billion," Krieger disclosed. "That averages to over $18,000 for each of Santa Barbara County’s 95,000 customers.”

Krieger emphasized, “The Governor is no longer saying that the beneficiaries will pay for the project and we can expect that he’ll ask the state General Fund/taxpayers to foot more of the cost. That will be money that would otherwise go to public safety, education, health care and paying off past debt. California already has 6% of its budget going to pay off debt. We don’t need more public debt for outdated water solutions.”

Jim Edmondson, a southern California C-WIN board member, said there are "better and cheaper" solutions for protecting and enhancing water supplies like strengthening Delta levees for $4 billion, recycling, conservation and stormwater capture.

"Southern California ratepayers and taxpayers will pay the costs of the twin tunnels, but may not receive a drop more water," said Edmondson. "They will be paying more every month to increase water deliveries for subsidized corporate agribusiness in portions of the San Joaquin Valley."

Edmondson concluded that "Several other lower costs alternatives exist that are not being given full consideration by the Governor and his water barons. Governor Brown's arguments that he is fiscally prudent are suspect. A recent benefit/cost analysis for the Peripheral Tunnels concluded that Californians will spend $2.50 for only $1 of benefits."

A groundbreaking economic analysis released on August 7 by Food & Water Watch and C-WIN reveals that Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) customers could be on the line for $2,003 to $9,182 per customer to pay for the 37-mile Peripheral Tunnels project announced by Governor Jerry Brown on July 25. To download the report, go to: http://documents.foodandwaterwatch.org/doc/BayDeltaConveyanceLAEconAnalysis.pdf

The construction of the peripheral tunnels would likely lead to the extinction of Central Valley salmon, Delta smelt, longfin smelt and other species, according to agency and independent scientists. For details on the threat to listed species posed by the BDCP, read the briefing paper by the Bay Institute and Defenders of Wildlife at: http://www.bay.org/assets/BDCP%20EA%20Briefing%20Paper%2022912.pdf

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by Beeline
Friday Jan 25th, 2013 9:17 PM
The paradigm of expanding economic development is still entrenched in this society. It seems that this is the only consideration for the huge corporate powers-big powers need big projects I guess no matter what the cost.

Before gold was discovered in California the winter/spring runs of Chinook salmon swam far upstream in the Sacramento river system. They made it to the foot of Mt Shasta, up the Mc Cloud to the high falls, up the Pit river and into Fall river miles to the east. In the south salmon made it clear down to Tulare lake. What we have left is a mere pittance of their former numbers. Indians camped all along the Sacramento and caught and dried salmon. They too are mostly gone; pressed onto tiny plots of land if they were lucky enough to even get that. At present the last of the last, the Winnemem Wintu tribe is just trying to hold on to a few small sacred sites at the mouth of the Mc Cloud which are now threatened by more government projects. The low numbers of salmon, especially the endangered winter run chinook have fallen continuously lower for years as they must spawn in non-historical habitat below Keswick dam.

Will it ever stop? Not with a governor who is acting the part of Sauron. He and his Orc army are trying to build their wicked web of tunnels and canals-so many in fact that they will criss-cross under/over each other. The star project (peripheral canal) would even have a forebay of 925 acres and three 'state of the art' fish screens. Yeah sure- state of the art screens catch plenty of fish but do not necessarily keep them alive. Details, Details. The whole project would take up 2,700 acres. But hey, It's the size of the project that counts. Right?

A generation or two down the road kids at school will ask about something called a salmon. 'What happened to them' little Johnny asks? No one really knows says the teacher, 'They just mysteriously disappeared'.