Jerry Brown Announces Multi-Billion Dollar Bay Delta Plan

Delta-plan Credit: aecom.com[/caption]

Today, Governor Jerry Brown and U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar formally announced the Bay Delta Conservation Plan. The BDCP is a controversial multi-billion dollar project aimed at fixing California’s ongoing “water war” over the Sacramento- San Joaquin Delta.

The proposal includes constructing a pair of underground tunnels designed to move water through the Delta at 9,000 cubic ft. per second to the south toward cities and millions of acres of farmland. It also includes plans for extensive habitat restoration as an effort to balance the needs of water users against eco preservation.

In a joint release issued earlier today:

“A healthy Delta ecosystem and a reliable water supply are profoundly important to California’s future,” said Governor Brown. “This proposal balances the concerns of those who live and work in the Delta, those who rely on it for water and those who appreciate its beauty, fish, waterfowl and wildlife.”

“As broken and outdated as California’s water system is, we are also closer than ever to forging a lasting and sustainable solution that strengthens California’s water security and restores the health of the Delta,” said Secretary Salazar. “Through our joint federal-state partnership, and with science as our guide, we are a taking a comprehensive approach to tackling California’s water problems when it comes to increasing efficiency and improving conservation. Today marks an important step forward in transforming a shared vision into a practical, effective solution. With California’s water system at constant risk of failure, nobody can afford the dangers or costs of inaction.”

“The status quo isn’t working for fish, communities around or dependent upon the Bay Delta, economic development, or water resources management,” said Dr. Jane Lubchenco, Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and NOAA Administrator. “Our proposed changes to the BDCP reflect important improvements in shaping a comprehensive strategy to fix a broken system. Because this is a complicated issue and we do not have all the answers today, we will continue to evaluate and refine the proposal. We call upon the many participants throughout California to join us in staying focused on science-based solutions.”

Those against the current proposal are gearing up for a major fight in the coming months. The most heated criticism is coming from groups representing Delta communities and local agricultural interests, as well as environmentalists- who share concern over the project’s construction footprint and what it would mean for local water quality.

Supporters of the plan include major farm and business interests across the state, water districts, and labor unions.

More information on the Bay Delta Conservation Plan is available here.