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Top 10 questions Delta tunnels boosters don’t want to be asked

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POSTED July 13, 2015 7:58 p.m.

By BRIAN SMITH

Restore the Delta

1. How will construction of the tunnels over a fourteen-year period help with drought? 

2. Will the state conduct a full cost-benefit analysis of the project that includes the value of freshwater to the San Francisco Bay-Delta estuary? 

3. How much water is available for export through the tunnels in a drought after prior water rights and public trust needs are met? And if there isn’t any, how often will the tunnels be dry? 

4. How does California Water Fix help reduce reliance on Delta imports as mandated by the 2009 Delta Reform Act? 

5. The State Water Resources Control Board, the Department of Water Resources, and the Bureau of Reclamation have allowed for the waiving and weakening of Delta water quality standards for all water uses and species protections during the drought, endangering numerous Delta species and bringing some to the precipice of extinction.  How can San Francisco Bay-Delta business, tourism, fishing, and farming communities trust the tunnels would be operated any better? 

6. Isn’t the majority of the habitat designated under California Eco Restore for mitigation for the 2008 biological opinions?  Isn’t that habitat for damage already done to the Delta? 

7. How does a Delta tunnels-only project and less than 2000 acres of mitigation habitat comply with the 2009 Delta Reform Act “coequal goals” of water supply reliability and ecosystem restoration while protecting the Delta as a place? 

8. If the North Delta diversions are better for fish, how much will the over overall “take” or “kill” numbers for endangered fish species be reduced?  What can we expect in terms of reduction numbers? 

9. Where does the water for the tunnels come from? What will that do to the source area? How long is it sustainable? Have you analyzed the economic and environmental impacts on those regions? 

10. According to Dr. Jeff Michael of University of the Pacific, the estimated benefits for the project drop by $10 billion without regulatory assurance for water deliveries. How can farmers afford such costly water and hope to maintain a profit? How much of the project will urban ratepayers and property tax payers Southern California and Silicon Valley pay for the project? 

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