Los Angeles water pirates like referring to the myopic Twin Tunnels as the Delta Water Fix.
Their basic argument is the Golden State has unreliable plumbing so let’s fix it.
But before you sign on the dotted line or get out your checkbook you need to ask yourself a question or two.
If you were hiring a plumber to make sure you could count on your pipes to keep the water flowing and they told you that you needed new specialty pipes and that it might cost $18 billion wouldn’t you want to see some visual proof besides conjecture from their in-house plumber expert who is an estimator and also has a stake in how much you spend given he works on commission? At the very least wouldn’t you want another plumber to take a look at it and see if there really is a problem or if there a more cost effective solution?
And before you spent $18 billion wouldn’t you like to see a few references?
Let’s start with the references first. The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California — the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power on steroids — doesn’t have a stellar record in treating the natural plumbing in California with utmost care or respect. Nor do they care what happens to the plumbing that other tenants or regions in the Golden State rely on as long as they take in the dough from growth that tinkering with California’s plumbing that’s 330 to 550 miles away allows them to rake in.
An example of a botched previous job handled by LA Water & Power is the Owens Valley. By scheming and misleading they ravaged the fertile Owens Valley, destroyed the once massive Owens Lake in less than 10 years after it had survived tens of thousands of years, and was well on the way to doing the same to Mono Lake before the courts stopped them. Los Angeles blossomed thanks to the rape of the Owens Valley. Meanwhile, the Owens Valley was shoved into Third California economic status, the area was pushed to the abyss of ecological Armageddon, and the once teeming Owens Lake became the largest source of dust pollution in the United States.
Then there’s the tender loving care they afforded the Los Angeles River in their own front yard. The soulless and dead river is essentially an open storm drain that stands as a monument to the California Cement Association.
These are the people we want to entrust to “fix” the plumbing in the Delta?
The Metropolitan Water District saying all they want to do is secure the delivery of “their water” is akin to a rapist saying they mean no harm. Both the MWD and rapist may honestly believe what they say but their victims have to live with the legacy of their actions.
The MWD this week breathed new life into the Twin Tunnels by voting to fund $10.8 billion of the — wink, wink — $17 billion construction cost. Given how Gov. Brown was off the mark in estimating costs for his other self-proclaimed legacy project —The Little Train That Couldn’t better known as high speed rail — the Twin Tunnels are likely to cost more than $50 million when all is said and done.
How can taking out all of the water that passes from the Sacramento River watershed through the Delta to the pumps at the head of the California Aqueduct northwest of Tracy to head south not drastically impact the Delta that is the largest estuary critical to fish and birds on the Pacific Coast of the Western Hemisphere even in non-drought years?
Can anyone say Owens Lake 2.0?
This is all rooted in concerns the levees in the Delta may not survive a massive earthquake even though no fault line nearby has been identified that would deliver such a jolt to level the levees. The ripple effects from major quakes in the Bay Area since 1906 did not collapse levees. Instead they rolled as if they were Jell-O — just like skyscrapers built in LA do in a major quake.
Sensing that people are seeing through that line of baloney, the MWD chairman this week unleashed a new bogeyman to scare people into backing the Twin Tunnels when he alluded to how hurricanes devastated aging water systems in Texas and Louisiana. Chairman Randy Record must have his “Los Angeles” confused. There is a Los Angeles in Texas but it is at the crossroads of state route 97 and county road 469 and has 20 souls and not 4 million people.
They also toss out saltwater intrusion as a concern but it only in regards to the quality of what comes out of their taps 350 miles from where nature put the water and not about how saltwater intrusion will hurt the communities in the Delta, the Delta ecological system, or Delta farms.
There are other solutions. The most logical is upgrading levees so everyone wins. Another pitched by a UC Davis researcher is for a much shorter tunnel closer to the Tracy pumps that would address almost all of LA’s concerns except one — its hidden agenda which is to guarantee they will never have to take a cut in water supplies when edicts come down for Delta flows for fish from courts or in a major drought.
Tuesday’s vote paints the Twin Tunnels for what they are — the latest LA water grab.