New “Confidential” Documents Reveal State Plans to Take Delta Farms



Now is the time to get involved.  We must take action. Click here to take action now!

“Confidential” Documents Reveal State Plans to Take Delta Farms 

Public opposition & lack of permits don’t deter Department of Water Resources (Delta Design Construction Enterprise) Under Brown Administration Lead
Sacramento – Newly released documents gained through Public Records Actions show that water exporters and the Delta Design Construction Enterprise housed within the California Department of Water Resources have already developed plans to “acquire” family farms and right of way in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta through eminent domain.

The proposed acquisitions will cover the 30+ mile proposed tunnel alignment and require condemning private property interests from many Delta landowners in four counties (Sacramento, San Joaquin, Contra Costa and Alameda).

The “Acquisition Management Plan,” obtained from the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, shows that agencies have identified 300 parcels in the Delta they intend to “acquire” or gain right of way through.

These documents can be viewed here



Appendix A lists more than 300 parcels of real property currently targeted by the State for acquisition, in whole or in part.

Delta farmers, who have been winning a protracted legal battle with the state agencies, are shaken by the documents.

“It is wrong and premature that the Department of Water Resources has a unit creating a secret land acquisition plan to take 150 year-old farms, like ours, through condemnation,” said Richard Elliot whose family has farmed in Courtland for more than 150 years and has never sold any of their land in the Delta. “Now it is going to be condemned for thirsty water agencies working with DWR. It does not make good policy sense to forsake prime Delta farmland with access to water and moderate weather conditions to farm in a dry desert that is filled with salt and selenium in its soils and that is not sustainable. The entire plan doesn’t make for sustainable food policies, smart land use practices, or even common sense.”

“This Confidential Draft confirms my concerns about the magnitude of the assault on private property interests in the Delta and disruption to Delta life as a result of the proposed project,” said attorney Thomas H. Keeling who has represented landowners in this litigation.

“Like every other aspect of the tunnels scheme, taxpayers, landowners, and Delta communities in general will pay the heavy price for a project that will line the pockets of a few private interests south of the Delta without delivering anything of value to California,” added Keeling.


Delta agriculture at risk.

Delta agriculture at risk.

New Name, Still No Fix

The Partially Recirculated Draft Environmental Impact Report/Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement was recently made available for public review and comment.  What used to be known as the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) is now being called “California WaterFix” and “California Eco Restore.”

“California WaterFix” still contains 3 intake facilities and 30 miles of pipeline that measure 40 feet in diameter.  It does not require a 50-year permit by federal agencies.  In addition, funds from the voter-approved Water Bond, Proposition 1, will be used for the project’s required habitat restoration even though voters were promised no money from Proposition 1 would be used for the Delta tunnels project.

What is the Problem?

  1. “California WaterFix” will use money that was publically approved, but specifically NOT for the Delta tunnels project.
  2. The public will have to pay for a plan that has an unknown cost.  An agreement will be developed later that will answer how the facility will be managed, who will get to decide when issues need to be addressed, and who will pay for the research to ensure the answers are based on science and not politics.
  3. “California WaterFix” does not guarantee south-of-Delta agencies would get more water. It DOES guarantee the users will pay more for what they already get.

As taxpayers, we should all be concerned that the recently passed Water Bond money we were told would be ‘tunnel neutral’ is now being used to fund this controversial project.  Why is “California WaterFix” now planning on using the Water Bond money for its related restoration work?

The public comment period is short, so we encourage you to take action now.  Comments are being accepted July 10, 2015 to August 31, 2015.  To review and comment, click here.

Major design changes to the Delta Tunnel Plan

Today, the Department of Water Resources announced ‘significant refinements’ to the proposed BDCP.   Touting the Plan has been refined to reduce local impacts.  Well, the fact of the matter is, flaws still exist with the Bay Delta Conservation Plan.  Instead of giant electric pumps, the plan now calls for water to enter three intakes by gravity flow, reducing miles of electrical infrastructure.   The problem is the intakes are still large and require a lot of land that will displace Delta agriculture forever.   While eliminating the energy needs of the massive pumping plants might be a win for some, the numerous other side effects have not been resolved.  Side effects like, reverse flows, poor water quality, irreversible environmental damage , and destruction of thousands of acres of highly productive farmland that will be tidal marsh.   Other solutions exist that do not destroy the Delta and ensure our neighbors who farm south of the Delta will have a reliable supply of water.

To read more about these changes, click here.

Read more here:

The True Value of Water Storage

As mentioned in my previous blog there are many comprehensive solutions other than the Delta Tunnels to help solve the water crisis in California. With the passage of Proposition 1 and the Governor’s call to save water for our future, the potential value of additional water storage in the state is an area of vigorous discussion. An article written by Jay Lund, Maurice Hall and Anthony Saracino of UC Davis for Watershed Sciences reported as advocates for a more integrated approach to surface and groundwater storage. Surface water reservoirs provide benefits by capturing water when it is more abundant and storing it for times of greater water scarcity. Groundwater in California provides larger capacity storage for the longer term, such as for multi-year droughts, and is a substantial source of water and seasonal storage in places where surface water is limited. Water supply and environmental performance of additional storage capacity are greatest when surface and groundwater storage operations are integrated and coordinated. The benefits and likely cost-effectiveness of coordinating surface and groundwater storage and conveyance operations greatly surpass the benefits of expanding storage capacity alone.

Click here to read the whole article.




How much will it cost to build the twin tunnels?

The California Treasurer’s Office released this week a report on BDCP’s Affordability and Financing which reveals that Governor Brown’s Tunnels could cost $54.1 billion. Many are questioning if these tunnels are a good investment.

Studies have shown the twin tunnels are only affordable if taxpayers, who will receive no benefits from them, foot the bill. The Brown Administration has failed to disclose that California families will pay thousands of dollars to water contractors. If water contractors are unable to pay for the construction costs of the project, they will be required to levy a property tax assessment sufficient to make the payment. This will double & even triple the cost of water for rate payers throughout California.

The BDCP failed to recognize other plans that would convey water through the Delta that would cost much less. Engineered plans such as the Delta Corridors would connect the San Joaquin River with the estuary at Franks Tract, and would separate the San Joaquin River salt and fish from export pumping and entrainment. These Delta Channel modifications would protect our fish and our water supply at a fraction of the price. Engineer Dr. Robert Pyke developed the Western Delta Intakes Concept (WDIC). This plan contains six physical elements; restoration of floodplains in the Sacramento & San Joaquin Rivers, add new intake facilities in the Western Delta, construction of a pumping station, pumping plants with new screen intakes, additional south-of-Delta storage to store surplus water, and maintain water quality by constructing a lines canal. These alternatives to the twin tunnels must be considered as they have the only chance of solving California’s water problems.


Congressman McNerny Speaks Out Against the Delta Tunnels.

Yesterday, October 28, 2014, Fox 40 News Anchor Paul Robins sat down with “Delta Congressman” Jerry McNerny  to talk to him about the upcoming elections. As McNerny covered his plan for District 9, he made sure to speak on the water issues in California. When asked about the Delta Tunnels Project he spoke how he was against the Tunnels. “They would be devastating to our economy and local environment.  It would be a lot of money that would create no new water for our users anywhere in California.”




Ami Bera Blocks Delta Tunnels Project

Ami Beamibdra sponsors a bill to block the $25 billion Bay Delta Conservation Plan.

“does nothing to increase our water supply and only diverts more water from the Sacramento area to Southern California.”

Read more here:

Read it here at The Sacramento Bee

The Delta Tunnels are not the answer to California’s water problems

The Delta Tunnels Project, if built, would be one of the most expensive and ill-planned projects in the country.  It would consist of two 40-foot wide tunnels, placed 150 feet underground, running 35-miles within the Sacramento-San Joaquin Bay Delta.  The tunnels would divert water from the Sacramento River to water users south of the Delta.  The price tag for this project will be up to $60 billion.

The study for the Delta Tunnels has yet to answer some basic questions;

Who will bear the real costs of this project, repairing the environmental damage, paying for the destruction of family farms, as well as the massive cost of construction?

This project specifically limits water deliveries to no more than users presently receive, yet water users will pay much more for what they do get.

Why isn’t the State Legislature involved in this decision? Why won’t they speak up for us taxpayers?

The Delta Tunnels are not the answer to California’s water problems.  These questions deserve answers.

This is a hugely expensive project which will affect everyone in the state and is currently being carried out entirely by executive order of the Governor and the state agencies.

As a taxpayer, I am concerned about higher taxes to pay for a water system that will not deliver any more water.

Your action today will let our elected leaders know that California’s water and future matter to us!

Don’t pay more for less. Tell your legislator to get involved in California’s future and the Delta Tunnels Project.

In the News

Delta Tunnels in the News

(Large waves of protests swell against the Delta Plan.)

Environmental groups take action to stop the tunnels.

  • Restore the Delta
  • California Water Impact Network
  • Environmental Water Caucus
  • Center for Biological Diversity
  • Southern California Watershed Alliance
  • AquAlliance
  • California Save our Streams Council
  • Trinity Lake Revitalization Alliance
  • Environmental Protection Information Center

“Delta Tunnels push funded and/or related to fracking interests rather than delivering more water to Los Angeles citizens.”

– The Daily KOS (Feb 26, 2013)

LA Times articles reports “Delta promoters using fear for support”.

“Let’s just call it a stretch, an attention-getting talking point used in the delta re-plumbing pitch by previous administrations. Nothing stirs Californians like earthquake chatter.”

– Los Angeles Times (Dec 15, 2013)

Twin tunnels ‘will effectively destroy the Delta as it exists today,’ San Joaquin County report warns.

– (Jul 7, 2014)