Drought Shows Folly of Tunnels, Would be of NO Use this Year, but Would Cost Millions

For Immediate Release: Monday, March 2, 2015
Contact: Steve Hopcraft 916/457-5546; steve@hopcraft.com; Twitter: @shopcraft; Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla 209/479-2053 barbara@restorethedelta.org; Twitter: @RestoretheDelta

Tunnel Critics: Drought Shows Folly of Tunnels,
Would be of NO Use this Year, but Would Cost Millions

Sacramento, CA – Restore the Delta (RTD), opponents of Gov. Brown’s rush to build water export Tunnels that would drain the Delta and doom sustainable farms, salmon and other Pacific fisheries, today responded to federal agencies’ curtailment of water deliveries. “It is lucky for the South of Delta agricultural Central Valley Project contractors (and Kern County Water Agency) that the tunnels were not already built. If so, they would have had to pay hundreds of millions of dollars with no water supply,” said Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, executive director of RTD. “The tunnels would not have provided them with any appreciable additional water. With multiple years of no, or very limited water supply, could those water takers afford to keep making their loan payments for the multi-billion dollar tunnels? If the water contractors could not afford to make the payments, would the bond holders foreclose? Even so, the land would not be worth much without water. Plus, rate payers and property tax payers in the Metropolitan Water District and Santa Clara Valley Water District would be stuck with higher taxes and water rates for less water than ever before.”

“The continuing drought shows the folly of the Governor’s tunnels. In the middle of a prolonged drought, the Governor blindly plans to solve our water scarcity by building massive tunnels, when our water supply is decreasing. The cost keeps escalating and the benefits diminishing,” said Barrigan-Parrilla. Restore the Delta pointed to findings of the administration’s own analysis showing the “through-Delta” alternative has the highest benefit-cost ratio of all the options. “The Brown Administration has failed to disclose that California families will pay thousands of dollars, yet receive no new water. It’s time to embrace a sustainable water solution that works in dry times as well as normal water years.”

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