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



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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.


Delta agriculture at risk.

Delta agriculture at risk.

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.