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City Visions: May 7, 2012
A Peripheral Canal for the Delta?
It's been called the third rail of California politics -- fraught with even more peril than Prop 13 -- and the most controversial proposal in the contentious history of California water. We're talking, of course, about the Bay Delta Conservation Plan and its proposed centerpiece: a massive conveyance system to move millions of acre feet of water annually south out of the Sacramento River and around the ecologically fragile San Joaquin-Sacramento River Delta. Proponents say that the project is essential for addressing risks of levee failure, reducing conflicts over fish, and ensuring reliable water deliveries to 25 million consumers in the Bay Area, the Central Valley and Southern California. Opponents, on the other hand, say that the project is unaffordable, premised on unfair and unsustainable water allocations, and certain to do irreparable harm to fisheries, the Delta ecosystem and the communities that depend on them.
Governor Brown has voiced support for the Delta conveyance and is expected to formalize his position in July, when he will publicly announce the key elements of the project. In the meantime, join us as we parse the pros and cons of the Delta debate. Do we need a peripheral canal, and at what cost? What would the environmental impacts of a water diversion of this scale be? What would the project mean for Bay Area ratepayers and taxpayers? And how can you get involved?
Gary Bobker, Program Director of The Bay Institute, a nonprofit organization committed to protecting and restoring the San Francisco Bay and its watershed.
Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Campaign Director for Restore the Delta, a nonprofit organization committed to promoting the health of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta and the well-being of Delta communities.
Jason Peltier, Chief Deputy General Manager of Westlands Water District, a 600,000-acre agricultural district on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley serving approximately 600 farms.
Joan Maher, Deputy Operating Officer for the Santa Clara Valley Water District, which manages water resources for the 1.8 million residents of Santa Clara County.