$240 Million Wasted Is Already Too Much

The public review copies of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) to build the peripheral tunnels and its companion Environmental Impact Report (EIR) became available on-line on Monday, December 9 at: http://baydeltaconservationplan.com/Home.aspx.

The release of the documents takes place at a time when the enormous cost of the BDCP is coming under increasing scrutiny by water agencies, water ratepayers and the taxpayers who will pay for the tunnels.

A total of $240 million has already been spent on the plan - and it will take another $1.2 billion to complete the planning for the government boondoggle.

"The giant Delta water-diversion tunnels proposed by Gov. Jerry Brown need $1.2 billion more spent on planning and design before construction starts or is even assured," according to a report by Matt Weiser in the Sacramento Bee on December 7. (http://www.sacbee.com/2013/12/07/5978184/delta-water-tunnel-project-needs.html#storylink=cpy)

"The additional planning costs, which come on top of $240 million already spent, first came to light at a board meeting of the Westlands Water District late last month. The Sacramento Bee confirmed this additional planning cost in recent interviews with the California Department of Water Resources, which is leading the project, and several of the water agencies that are responsible for the bills," said Weiser.

On Friday, Restore the Delta (RTD) released water export tracking tables showing that urban users get just 31% of the water, while huge corporate agribusiness interests in the Westlands, Kern and other districts get 35% of water exports.

The tables show a ten-year-average of the amount of water exported from the Delta to water agencies south of the Delta pumps.

“Urban water rate payers in the Santa Clara Valley Water District and the Metropolitan Water District are being asked to pay for a significant portion of the proposed peripheral tunnels, as part of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan, without receiving any additional water,” said Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, RTD executive director. “Yet, these two urban agencies receive a smaller percentage of Delta exports (30.8%) than the big agribusiness growers found in the Westland Water District and the Kern County Water Agency (34.5%). It’s time to stop forcing the rest of us to subsidize unsustainable agriculture."

“Billionaire Beverly Hills farmer Stewart Resnick has made enormous profits exporting around the world pistachios grown with this exported water, subsidized by California rate payers, and reselling subsidized water for new development. Westlands Water District growers, whose Bureau of Reclamation contract places them last in line to receive exported Delta water, continue planting permanent crops that cannot be sustained on drainage impaired lands," she stated.

It is no surprise why Brown is fast-tracking the twin tunnels plan. Resnick, the owner of Paramount Farms, and his wife Lynda, who will benefit greatly from the tunnels, are among the biggest contributors to Governor Jerry Brown, having contributed $99,000 to his 2010 campaign.

Dr. Jerry Meral, the Administration’s lead on the BDCP who earlier this year claimed that "the Delta cannot be saved," has stated that the tunnels will cost households as much as a cell phone bill.

"He and the water agency leaders pushing this boondoggle project ignore that many families in urban communities can’t afford a second monthly cell phone bill – while receiving no additional benefit," concluded Barrigan-Parrilla.

The charts reveal that the total combined South-of-Delta water deliveries from the state and federal water projects averaged 5,178,023 acre-feet of water from 2000 to 2009. An average of 3,111,208 acre feet of water, 60 percent, went to agriculture, while 2,065,820 acre feet of water, 39.9 percent, went to urban users.

The federal government began the public comment period on Friday, December 13, 2013. The Brown Administration already released the BDCP documents to participating agencies on December 6.

To view the tables and for action alerts, go to: http://www.restorethedelta.org.

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