Water - Twin Tunnels

Water - Twin Tunnels

The Twin Tunnel water project would create two side-by-side underground tunnels to carry fresh water from the Sacramento River to Tracy. Water would travel south to farms in the Central Valley and urban areas in the East and South Bay and in Southern California.

Where Water Comes From | Funders | Water Forum Videos | BDCP Questions & Answers | Map | Unbiased State Report | PCWA Comments | Southern California's View | Sierra Council Recommendation | Ask a Question | Summary  DPC Video

From Where Does Our Water Come?

Watch this 2.5 minute video on where our water comes from in Placer County: Click to watch video

Delta Tunnel Project Funders

Building twin tunnels around the Delta depends on water districts in Southern California and the San Joaquin Valley, customers of the State Water Project (SWP) and Central Valley Project (CVP), agreeing to shoulder the $15.5 billion cost.

Map of Delta Tunnels Project Funders

  • Santa Clara Valley Water District: SWP and CVP contractor serving 1.9 million residents of Silicon Valley. Relies on Delta deliveries for 40% of its total supply.
  • San Joaquin River Exchange Contractors Water Authority: Just 240,00 acres of land but special legal rights. Receiving 50% allotment from CVP in 2015.
  • San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority: Wholesaler that delivers federal CVP water, primarily to farmers covering 2.1 million acres in 29 separate districts. Zero CVP water deliveries in 2014 and 2015.
  • Westlands Water District: Largest member of San Luis authority. Powerful, well-connected voice in California water, wary of costs but eager to improve reliability of water deliveries.
  • Kern County Water Agency: SWP contractors covering 674,000 acres. Getting 20% of normal SWP allotment in 2015, but other sources available.
  • Metropolitan Water District of Southern California: one of the major players in California water, serving 19 million urban residents. SWP contractor and one of the tunnels' strongest supports.
Comic - The United States of CaliforniaPlacer County - The State of Water

Reported by Auburn Journal, May 21, 2014: Placer County supervisors are sending a letter to Gov. Jerry Brown outlining the direction they would like to see a state water bond move toward.

The letter will also weigh in on the county's stance against twin tunnels proposed in the Bay Delta Conservation Plan.Board members voted to approve a letter to be sent out over Chairman Jack Duran's signature to Brown that reinforces the county's stance on 2014 water-bond legislation. Supervisors were told Tuesday by management analyst Joel Joyce that a dozen options are being considered on a bond. A bond measure asking voters to approve $11 billion in borrowing is due to be tested in the November election. "A water bond must expand water storage capacity and improve groundwater management," Duran's letter will state. "(It must also) provide funding for regional water infrastructure that will diversify water supply and enhance reliability."

Supervisor Jennifer Montgomery received support from fellow supervisors to add language to a rough draft of the letter that reinforces the county's backing of the Sierra Nevada Conservancy and Tahoe Conservancy. Both are in line to have a portion of bond funding dedicated to programs within their boundaries. Montgomery said:

I do think it would be appropriate to include information on watershed and forest management, particularly within the Sierra Nevada and Tahoe conservancy boundaries.

Supervisor Robert Weygandt said that additional information could help the two conservancies gain more bond funding in competition with other others around the state. 

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LWVPC Water Forum held February 2014

Aerial view of Sacramento-San Joaquin DeltaSacramento San Joaquin Delta and islands separated by the Franks Tract in the foreground. The San Joaquin river is in the middle and the Sacramento River is in the background.

By generous arrangement between Wave Broadband and LWVPC, in addition to providing free videotaping services of our Water Forum in February 2014, Wave made available ten video clips below edited to be no more than 5 minutes each. In return, LWVPC freely released content of the forum, enabling WAVE Cable to offer videotaped coverage of the event to Wave Cable TV subscribers to view for free under the WAVE Video On Demand Selection Tab: LOCAL PROGRAMS.

WAVE Broadband Logo - Choose Well. Choose Wave.

Click below to view the video of your choice - each less than 5 minutes long...

BDCP Questions & Answers

LWV California formulated questions about the construction, operation, deliveries, water use, species and habitat restoration, financing, supply and watershed issues, water quality and governance of the Bay Delta Tunnel Conservation Plan (BDCP). These questions were submitted to the State Department managing the project and the answers came from California officials. 

Read all of the BDCP questions & answers


Map of BDCP*

*courtesy of The Department of Water Resources.

Unbiased Report on Bay Delta Conservancy Project (Twin Tunnels)

This is an easy to understand and unbiased analysis of the BDCP.

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PCWA Comments on Twin Tunnels

On July 28, Placer County Water Agency submitted comments on the potential impacts of the proposed Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) expressing concern about future water supply reliability. PCWA states that the current analysis of the plan is significantly incomplete and fails to address key issues for communities that rely on the American River for water supply.

"The BDCP acknowledges that sea levels will rise by 16 inches or more in the coming decades," said Einar Maisch, Director of Strategic Affairs at PCWA. "Yet, the plan and the analysis do not address how California will adapt to rising sea levels and the increased salinity in the Delta that will result. If we don't acknowledge the need to adapt our environmental objectives to these rising sea levels, Folsom and Shasta reservoirs will be drained to literally push back the rising sea, leaving Northern California economies in peril."

PCWA noted that the tunnels themselves are positioned to keep them away from the growing salinity -- but the standards for salinity are sidestepped.

"We must develop a plan to provide water supply reliability for the entire state, not just the exporters, and this plan is far from it," said Joshua Alpine, Chairman of the PCWA Board of Directors.

The BDCP plan projects Folsom Reservoir will be at "dead pool" every 10 years + with no water available to be pumped from the reservoir during those years.

"California's climate is changing and the state must recognize this fact and create an operational and environmental plan that addresses this issue," said Alpine. "Draining Northern California reservoirs to export water to other parts of the state and maintain a freshwater Delta is a partial solution that creates more problems than it solves."

Alpine added: "We have directed Placer County Water Agency staff to vigorously defend the water rights we have under long-standing and established federal and state law. Reliable water supply is critical to our County's economic future and we will take all necessary steps to protect that water reliability."

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For more information on PCWA's comments, please contact Einar Maisch at 530-823-4882. To view PCWA's comments, visit their website.

Metropolitan Water District of Southern California's View

In the July 20th Sacramento Bee, Jeffrey Kightlinger offered these answers to questions from the Editorial Board of the Bee:

How do you persuade Delta people that the tunnel project is good for them?

I don't know that it necessarily is good for someone, but it's certainly not bad.

I get that some people have a philosophy that no water should be taken. We've been taking water out of the Delta for 60 some years now. We've built around that concept. Is there a better way to do that than taking it from the south end of of the Delta?

If you care about fish, if you care about ecosystem, if you care about water quality, if you care about reliability, every metric says pulling it from north of the Delta is smarter than pulling it from the south.

Now, half our stat population is below the Tehachapis, and 60 percent of the state's economy. What we're trying to do is make the existing system work.

If the tunnels don't get built, what would happen?

I don't know that it necessarily is good for someone, but What you'll see is degradation, continued downward spiral in the Delta, continued battles in the courts, lots of litigation and presumably less water supply for export.

Could Metropolitan Water District serve its customers without Delta water?

Southern California has options. What you probably could not do is serve the Central Valley.

We're going to be saying that 4 million acres of farmland, that we're going to mine the groundwater till it's out and then... walk away, or we're going to shrink it. Instead of 4 million acres, we can only do 500,000 acres and the rest goes out of business.

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Sierra Business Council Recommendation on Water Bond

Steven Frisch is president of the Sierra Business Council, a non-profit network of more than 4,000 businesses, community organizations, local governments and individuals. In July 28, 2014 Sacramento Bee, the Sierra Business Council recommends that any new water bond do the following:

    1. Recognize the Sierra-Cascade as an area of statewide significance because they provide approximately 70 percent of the state's developed water supply - including drinking water for more than 23 million people and irrigation for one-third of California's agricultural land.
    2. Allocate funding using a regional approach in which population, land area and a region's significance to the local and state water system are taken into account.
    3. Distribute funding through state conservancies in areas where they operate, honoring their local knowledge and track record of getting funding to projects that achieve statewide goals.
    4. Invest in the areas where the water originates - such as the Sierra Nevada and southern Cascade - not just in the urban areas where votes are.

Still Have Questions?

Just email us at lwvplacer@yahoo.com and we'll help you find the answer.

Delta Protection Commission - Video of Impact

Members of the Delta Protection Commission are local politicians who represent cities and counties in the Delta that would be directly affected by the Bay Delta Conservation Project (BDCP). They have emerged as a significant rival to the tunnel plan and provide this video simulation of the 3 intakes on the Sacramento River that would feed the 2 proposed tunnels. The video illustrates how the 3 intakes would dwarf the town of Clarksburg, which lies directly across the Sacramento River on the Yolo County side. It also depicts how roads and levees will be reconfigured and the scale and nature of changes to the riverfront at each intake. It is intended to demonstrate the magnitude and scale of what's being contemplated in the BDCP.

In addition to the animation, there are several static images of what the intake locations look like before, during and after construction.

The Department of Water Resources is now working to produce its own versions based on conceptual engineering documents.

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Click to watch the Delta Protection Commission video of the BDCP (Twin Tunnel plan) impact on Delta communities.