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“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.