Restore the Delta Responds to Brown Administration’s Rush to Build Peripheral Tunnels Around the Delta

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Contact: Steve Hopcraft 916/457-5546;;Twitter: @shopcraft

Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla 209/479-2053; Twitter: @RestoretheDelta

Restore the Delta Responds to Brown Administration’s Rush to Build Peripheral Tunnels Around the Delta:

If they wanted to protect fish they wouldn’t have exported record-high water levels the past few years

SACRAMENTO, CA – Restore the Delta (RTD), a coalition opposed to the Brown Administration’s rush to construct massive Peripheral Tunnels to take millions of acre-feet of water from the Delta, mainly to benefit mega-growers on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley, responded to the Administration’s proposed water diversion proposal.

Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, executive director of RTD, said, “Time and time again, the best available Delta science has shown that Delta Smelt and other threatened fish species are on the brink of collapse due to too much water being taken out of the Delta.  In the face of the threatened extinction of fish species, the Brown Administration has presided over record-high water exports. Where was their deep concern for the Delta smelt, salmon and other species during the past two years?  The Peripheral Tunnel proponents are proposing a new diversion for one purpose: get the Peripheral Tunnels built ASAP.

“For state officials to say that changing the diversion point is to protect Delta smelt, and not simply to provide more water for export, is disingenuous. The water-takers have failed for decades to install fish screens that work. Why would we believe their new Peripheral Tunnels would properly screen fish? The technology for the fish screens to be placed at the new diversion point has not yet been developed. How can the Administration advocate that changing the diversion point with new intakes is the silver bullet to help Delta smelt, when they don’t know if it will work?  In addition, they don’t know if fish can recover and survive when passing three large intakes.

“There are laws that must be followed.  Officials cannot simply change the diversion point for Delta exports.  They will have to move through processes with the State Water Resources Control Board, and show that this change will not have an adverse impact on Delta communities.”

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