Editor, Manteca Bulletin,
I’m delighted to hear that the Bay Delta Conservation Plan folks have taken “potential sea level increases” into account when designing the Twin Tunnels. I’m not sure what their representative means by “potential” when we know that the polar ice sheets are melting, Greenland is turning green, Iceland is looking for a new name, and that a 2008 study determined that the Mississippi River Delta is “drowning” and that much of it will be submerged by 2100.
Your 10-foot sea level rise predictions may be a little optimistic, according to flood.firetree.net (http://flood.firetree.net/?ll=38.3351,-120.6188&zoom=9&m=3), whose data is provided by NASA. According to their flood map, into which you can add sea level rise increases in one meter increments, a mere one meter rise would affect everything between South Sacramento, Brentwood, Tracy, and parts of Manteca, including pretty much everything west of Interstate 5. Someone must have been aware of this when they built the highway. Try out the map. You can go to any point on the globe and see how flooding will affect that area. It’s pretty interesting.
It’s important to remember that even if you live in Oakdale or Ripon and aren’t getting your feet wet, salt water intrusion into fresh ground water supplies will make farming and living in the area difficult if not impossible. The subject of ground water contamination is one of the arguments made by opponents of the Bay Delta Conversation Plan, but that doesn’t seem to worry the twin tunnels folks. Maybe to their way of thinking, getting water to L.A is the only thing that matters, and that the Delta and the surrounding area is merely a sacrifice zone, just as the Owens Valley was years ago.
Back in the 1930s, the Central Valley Project created an expansive network of dams, reservoirs, canals, and levees that turned California into one of the most prosperous areas of not only the United States, but of the entire world. The CVP’s planners achieved that by keeping and using the water in the Central Valley. Now, we’d better figure out a way to keep the water out of the Valley. The projected 10 to 30-foot sea level rise by 2100 (depending upon whom you listen to) is only eighty-five years away at its peak, and there are children alive in Manteca today who will be affected by it. Of course, most politicians can only see one or two election cycles into the future, so we may have a problem.
According to the flood map, the Carquinez Strait looks like a good spot to start building a lock system, and we’d better get the ball rolling because time is not on our side. Besides the billions we will save by not building the Twin Tunnels, let’s forget about the High Speed Rail System and put that money into the pot, somewhere where it can do some good. If the Netherlands can do it, we should be able to find a solution to this problem, too.