Meeting Held to Discuss Delta Tunnels Project

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We are in the biggest drought in California’s history, and the Department of Water Resources wants to send some of Sacramento’s water down the river.

“We need water here, and if we ship south what little water we have, we won’t have enough for our needs,” Republican congressional candidate Doug Ose said at a public meeting Thursday evening.

He was referring to the Bay Delta Conservation Plan. The $25 billion project would built tunnels under the delta, sending it to the bay area and San Diego.

“Right now, the way the state’s water infrastructure is set up, two thirds of the water falls north of Sacramento and two thirds is used south of Sacramento. So no matter what system we have in place, that will continue,” Department of Water Resources Deputy Director Paul Helliker said.

Helliker said the department is currently applying for a permit to get the project off the ground. They are hoping to begin construction in 2017, and have the tunnels up and running by 2025.

“We got lots of good questions. Mostly focused on where are the tunnels going to be built, how big are they going to be,” Helliker said.

The tunnels would be 40 feet in diameter and sit 120 feet below the ground.

“We need to draw the line, how much we can divert and how much we can share,” C.J. Jawahar said. He is the chair of the Placer County Democratic Party, but says he came to the meeting as a concerned citizen of Roseville, and a neighbor to the delta.

Jawahar said he came with questions about how and Sacramento would send water out the area during a drought.

“I am rationing water in my household and I’m encouraging my children to do so,” Jawahar said.

Jawahar’s 10 year old daughter, Bhoojaa said water conservation has been tough on her personally.

“It’s so frustrating sometimes. Bath time is, like, something that’s very relaxing and then my dad comes in, ‘Come on. Five minutes,’ and I’m like, ‘No, thank you,'” she said.

The plan also includes habitat restoration for several endangered species.

Nicole Comstock filed this report.

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