Brown Administration to Look at Smaller Tunnel

On Tuesday, the Assembly Water Parks and Wildlife committee convened an informational hearing regarding the status of Delta plans; specifically the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP). One subject was National Research Council’s highly critical assessment of the previous administration’s draft BDCP plan. Key findings in their review were that the previous draft BDCP plan lacked clarity, did not integrate the best science available and did not fully analyze all alternatives in the Delta.

As the Sacramento Bee reported:

“Jerry Meral, deputy secretary of the state’s Natural Resources Agency, told an Assembly committee the tunnels are no longer the leading option to solve the Delta’s chronic water and environmental problems. He said a range of alternatives will now be considered by the Bay Delta Conservation Plan, an effort to balance water supply and environmental stresses in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.  Among them will be a much smaller diversion originally proposed by environmentalists, which never got traction in the Schwarzenegger administration.”

The Planning and Conservation League (PCL) and the Contra Costa Water District have taken the lead in recommending that a smaller tunnel be analyzed. PCL and many other organizations have also insisted that before any decision can be made on conveyance, new protective flow standards for the Delta need to be adopted. These realizations are gaining traction among those frustrated by the continued gridlock based on unrealistic expectations. As stated in today’s the Fresno Bee editorial, “There’s a real need to study new conveyance options.”