Editor, Manteca Bulletin,
I am appalled but not surprised that our ‘esteemed’ governor surprises us all by announcing that everything is a go now with the tunnels that will eventually destroy our valley (and farms) as we now know it. There will be two tunnels sucking water out of our delta under the existing California Aqueduct which already siphons much of our water from the delta.
Of course, our governor says this will not cause any harm. Although our delta is nothing like the Spanish explorers saw when they first observed it, that is no excuse to further damage it. We have already damned the rivers that flow into the delta (which were needed as the valley was once subject to dangerous flooding). But, by removing even more fresh water from our delta we allow a like amount of salt water to intrude into our water supply. This is not a good thing — not good for humans or animals or insects or fish or aquatic animals.
The oceans are tidal which means that at certain times of the day more salty ocean water is pushed into the delta (at times of high tides) and at other times less (at times of lower tides). The process involves the heavier salt water of the ocean intruding into the fresh waters of the delta and then receding at particular times during the day. The environment has adjusted to this process over the past century and is now balanced. However, a huge amount of fresh water will be removed from the delta which will allow more salt water to intrude. This will also involve our valley wells. I doubt I will be around to see the total effects of this operation on the delta but I feel very safe in predicting that those of us who live around or in the delta will not be pleasantly surprised. Years ago, farmers farmed the rich earth of the Owens Valley in Nevada. LA took that water and piped it into their city. The area was destroyed and the farmers were ruined. What we now see as Mono Lake, Nevada is the remains of the original lake after the water that fed it has been sent to LA. Southern California still looks to us to solve its water problems because the state allows it to. My question is what does our governor get from this?
I wonder, do the Bay Area cities realize that this will also cause the aquatic environment of the Bay, of the delta, from San Jose northward to change and not for the better. I am old enough to remember the state of the bay when I was a kid, after World War II. It was essentially dead. As children we were not supposed to swim in it; it stunk like rotten eggs; there were basically no shell fish or fish - at least none that were safe to eat. We were not supposed to fish in it. This is because of all the chemicals, etc. from shipbuilding, etc. that were on the Bay. It took years to clean up to the point it is now. I don’t know what the effects were upriver but I am sure they were not good because I believe there were shipbuilding facilities as far upriver as Stockton. I know they existed in Richmond, Sausalito, Vallejo, Stockton and possibly Antioch and maybe more I have forgotten since childhood. This is going to be devastating to our vineyards, farms, cities that depend on local water — once done, I do not believe it will ever be undone.
And the end of this was hidden — where were the meetings open to the public? The governor declares all of this will be environmentally safe — where are the EIRs? I suggest the various clubs, committees, etc. that are fighting this, get the EIRs quickly and examine them. I believe this is something that is worth fighting for and a vast overreach of our governor and his minions. Although I did not vote for him and am not an admirer, I really did not believe he would stoop this low and am truly disappointed. This is what the our Democratic governor has brought us to — it is a landmark — power loves more power and our future as free people is at stake. This Delta belongs to us, the people of California but is now controlled by our government.