Contra Costa County Leaders Endorse New Bay-Delta Proposal
Plan Provides More Effective and Affordable Alternatives for Review
Contra Costa County Supervisors Mary N. Piepho and Karen Mitchoff are applauding an effort to get a formal review of alternatives to the massive proposal backed by the Governor’s office to ship Northern California water through the Delta to the San Joaquin Valley and Southern California.
A coalition of business and environmental organizations is releasing a package of options they deem more efficient and affordable, relying upon a range of regional water solutions rather than the all-or-nothing approach of the draft Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP.) The BDCP plan calls for construction of two massive tunnels that will divert Sacramento River water from north of the Delta and carry it to the water export pumps that send it to other parts of the state.
Many of the elements that the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors has recommended in the County’s own policy on Bay-Delta issues appear in the coalition proposals. Sponsors estimate that all of the alternatives combined would cost several billion dollars less than the price tag of building the huge tunnels. The new plan would include a much smaller tunnel, allowing for funding of new water storage south of the Delta, dramatic increases to local water recycling and conservation, and enhanced cooperation among water agencies, while preserving the Delta’s ecosystem.
Supervisor Mary N. Piepho, whose district borders much of the Delta, says this makes more sense for all of California. “It’s critical that any future solutions for the Delta protect the Delta first and foremost and do not benefit Southern California interests at the expense of Northern Californians.”
Supervisor Karen Mitchoff agrees that blocking a more innovative package of options from even getting the same analysis as the huge tunnel project is short-sighted. “The state needs to do more than just study a dozen different versions of the same massive plan,” Mitchoff said. “A portfolio of options can allow for savings that can be used to strengthen the Delta levees while building reservoir capacity for the Central Valley and Southern California.”
The Board of Supervisors is expected to discuss the proposal at its February 12, 2013, meeting.