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Delta Doozy

Discussions about the future of California water and of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) have too often become a fact-free discourse that is not advancing an informed discussion. The State Water Contractors’ “Delta Doozy” series was launched in order to distinguish the facts from the fiction and promote constructive dialogue. 

Delta Doozy: BDCP Will Cost LADWP Ratepayers $15 per month

December 18, 2013 

The following comes from a press release on the Californians for a Fair Water Policy website:

“The tunnel project is estimated to cost from $24 to over $50 billion and would force higher water bills and property taxes in Los Angeles and throughout Southern California…LADWP would need to increase water bills from $7-15 per month for over 40 years or $2,000-$4,500 per household to fund its cost share of the tunnels.”

Some Facts for the Record: The information in Californians for a Fair Water Policy’s press release that ratepayers in the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power service area would see their monthly bills increase by $7-15 per month is incorrect. In fact, LADWP ratepayers would see a much lower increase of $3 per month on their water bills—it would have no impact on property taxes. To say that bills would rise as much as $4,500 over the course of the project, or up to $15 a month, is simply not true.

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Delta Doozy: Water Contractors Will Have "Nearly Free Rein" Under BDCP

December 12, 2013

The following comes from an opinion editorial from Assemblymember Roger Dickinson, published in the Sacramento Bee: 

“In essence, the [BDCP] could provide nearly free rein to water contractors to operate the new water export system and decide whether that system is actually working to restore the Delta.”

Some Facts for the Record:  The proposed governing structure for BDCP is detailed in Chapter Seven in the public draft released earlier this week and in the earlier administrative draft.  This proposed structure repeatedly clarifies that state and federal agencies maintain their full regulatory authority. An example contained in Chapter Seven:  “The status of the water contractors as Authorized Entities will not provide them with any new authority over water project operations decisions or result in the delegation of authority from any state or federal agency.”  Fish and wildlife agencies will maintain their authority to establish all outflow requirements.

To say that BDCP provides nearly free rein to water contractors in the Delta simply isn’t true.

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Delta Doozy: BDCP Will Eliminate 87% of San Joaquin County Farmland

November 13, 2013

The following comes from an article in the Manteca Bulletin about the Bay Delta Conservation Plan: 

“The diverting of water into Twin Tunnels would eliminate 87 percent of the farmland in San Joaquin County alone based on studies associated with the project.”

Some Facts for the Record: The author has grossly overestimated the impact of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) on agriculture in San Joaquin County. The fact is that San Joaquin County has roughly 700,000 acres of farmland, according to the county’s Agriculture Commissioner reports. BDCP construction will impact about 6,000 acres of agriculture—across ALL counties. Even if every one of those 6,000 acres were in San Joaquin County, which they aren’t, that would still equate to less than one percent of the county’s farmland. To say that BDCP construction will eliminate 87 percent of San Joaquin County farmland simply isn’t true. 

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Delta Doozy: Final BDCP Being Released, Doesn't Evaluate So Cal Conservation

November 7, 2013

The following Double Delta Doozy comes from an opinion editorial, “Viewpoints: Why I’m still confused about the proposed tunnel in the Delta,” by Peter Gleick of the Pacific Institute that ran in the in the Sacramento Bee on November 6:

“We’re supposed to get some of the final project documents in just a few weeks after many years and dollars spent planning.”

Some Facts for the Record: The state is scheduled to release DRAFT environmental and plan documents on December 13. The release will begin the official period for the public to review and comment upon 15 proposed alternatives. No FINAL project documents are imminent. Final project documents are many months away. And in fact, earlier drafts of the BDCP have been publicly available for review for more than a year.

The other Doozy is found when Gleick discusses BDCP analyses:

“…most of them leave out full evaluations of….the potential for cutting water demands south of the Delta by improving water use efficiency.”

Some More Facts for the Record: The BDCP’s projections of future water demands for Southern California did take into account plans by the southland to increase conservation, water use efficiencies and local supplies. These efforts combined will create an average-year supply that is greater than what is imported via the Delta. While water from the north is essential, it is just one piece of Southern California’s water supply portfolio. For more information on a key BDCP study that references Southland conservation plans, see here. For more on Southern California water use efficiency efforts, see here.

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