Congressman Garamendi Urges State Water Resources Control Board to Reject Policies Designed to Advance to Twin Tunnels

SACRAMENTO, CA - Recently, Congressman John Garamendi (D-Fairfield, Davis, Yuba City, CA) submitted a policy statement to the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) urging them to resist efforts to construct the twin tunnels. This morning, the SWRCB held a hearing to consider adding three points of diversion along the Sacramento River to the North Delta for the State Water Project and the Central Valley Project. This change is seen as a precursor to advance the twin tunnels.

Congressman Garamendi's letter was read as testimony for the record. Garamendi’s policy statement was included with dozens of other North Delta residents’ policy statements organized by North Delta CARES, a Clarksburg based non-profit community organization opposed to the twin tunnels.

“To my family and my constituents, the twin tunnels represent an existential threat to the health and vitality of the Delta,” the Congressman wrote. “To build a plumbing system capable of exporting 15,000 cubic feet per second of water from the Delta southward could effectively drain the Delta six months out of the year. With such a system in place, the Delta will be left vulnerable and underdefended in drought years, as well-financed interests in other parts of the state bully policymakers to allow the Delta to be ruined for short term economic gains.”

Today was an opportunity for the SWRCB to hear from the people.  The very people who will experience all of the negative consequences of the Cal water fix project. The tunnels will destroy the long history of agrarian living in the delta,” said North Delta CARES Co-Executive Director Anna Swenson. “North Delta Cares was honored to have 65 important individuals speak to the board today about the devastating nature of this project. We spoke about the vital role the delta and  its communities play in California. We thank the SWRCB for giving us the opportunity today.”  

The complete policy statement from Congressman Garamendi  is available below:

July 27, 2016

Ms. Felicia Marcus, California WaterFix Project Co-Hearing Officer

Ms. Tam Doduc, California WaterFix Project Co-Hearing Officer

State Water Resources Control Board

P.O. Box 100

Sacramento, CA 95812-0100

RE: Congressman Garamendi’s Statement Against the “California WaterFix”/Twin Tunnels

Dear Co-Hearing Officer Marcus and Co-Hearing Officer Doduc:

I am proud to represent the people of California’s 3rd Congressional District, which includes thousands of households who live in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta region. My family also lives in the Delta, and we are deeply troubled by the proposed twin tunnels that are disingenuously called the “California WaterFix”.

Since 1975, my wife Patti and I raised our six children at our home in Walnut Grove, in the heart of the Delta. At that home, we have also spent many days and nights watching our grandchildren grow up, and for several years, we helped care for our mother as she bravely spent her last year’s living with Alzheimer’s disease.

Along with our friends and neighbors, we depend on a healthy Delta to grow pears. Our pear orchard was planted 90 years ago and we have been blessed to sell many successful lots over the years. We are also grateful for the recreational opportunities provided by the Delta: boating, fishing, bird watching, and exploring nature. Combined, these activities sustain jobs for many of our neighbors.

We are all a combination of nurture and nature, and the Delta has helped our children and grandchildren become people who love Mother Earth and understand the fragility of our threatened ecosystems. That’s why I write to you today.

To my family and my constituents, the twin tunnels represent an existential threat to the health and vitality of the Delta. To build a plumbing system capable of exporting 15,000 cubic feet per second of water from the Delta southward could effectively drain the Delta six months out of the year. With such a system in place, the Delta will be left vulnerable and underdefended in drought years, as well-financed interests in other parts of the state bully policymakers to allow the Delta to be ruined for short term economic gains.

The twin tunnels’ $14 billion price tag will also drain our state of needed resources that could fund other vital priorities, like water storage, recycling, conservation, and levee restoration. Unlike the twin tunnels, which simply extract water from one place at the behest of another, these investments create new water for the entire state. They are a package of infrastructure improvements almost everyone can get behind, and they make our state more resilient to fluctuations in both wet and dry years.

I have proposed a comprehensive water solution based on these ideas, and others in the state have also proposed complimentary plans. I urge you to consider these better options instead of the twin tunnels boondoggle. Let us not enact policies that will irreparably destroy the Delta and the many communities it sustains.

Thank you for your service.

Sincerely,

JOHN GARAMENDI

Member of Congress

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