Fulfilling a pledge that Gov. Gavin Newsom made during his first State of the State address in February, California water officials have spiked former Gov. Jerry Brown's plan to build twin Delta Tunnels in favor of a single-tunnel plan. The huge underground double-tunnel project was intended to divert water from the Sacramento River for export to the Bay Area, Central and Southern California.
In a move that put an official bureaucratic stamp on the twin tunnels' demise, the Department of Water Resources announced today that it's withdrawing its permit application for the project filed with the State Water Resources Control Board and other agencies.
It’s not a surprise that officials are making moves to scrap the project; from the start Newsom has favored a more diversified water strategy. But DWR says scrapping the old plan could delay the project by as much as three years while officials file new environmental reviews and reapply for permits, according to the Sacramento Bee.
Gov. Brown intended the tunnels to be part of the state’s primary water system, serving about 25 million Californians from the Bay Area to San Diego. Built more than 50 years ago, the existing network of reservoirs, canals and aqueducts stretches hundreds of miles.
The tunnels were designed to fix a problem that state planners ran into a century ago: Most of the rain and snow falls in Northern California, but most of the state's population, and many farms, are in Central and Southern California.