SACRAMENTO-SAN JOAQUIN DELTA —
A project proposed by Gov. Jerry Brown to build two massive tunnels in the Delta is raising questions from farmers.
In the small town of Courtland, known for its pears, pear farmer Ryan Elliot isn’t sure what to make of the proposal.
“No one really knows what it will mean for the Delta,” Elliot told FOX40 Monday.
Elliot’s family has been pumping water from the edge of their property along the Delta since 1850.
Brown is hoping to have the $25 billion plan permitted by the end of the year. Its purpose is to restore fish habitat and pump water from the Delta down south to aqueducts in Central and Southern California.
“We are sensitive to the concerns of Delta residents, and so we will continue to refine the project and work to reduce local impacts wherever possible,” Nancy Vogel, with the California Natural Resources Agency, said. “We are trying to balance statewide needs.”
But critic Barbara Barrigan-Parilla with Restore the Delta feels her voice, along with hundreds of other voices, has not been heard by Brown.
She adds that construction will destroy economies along the five counties that border the Delta.
“The salt intrusion caused by the project would destory the water source for farmers,” Barrigan-Parilla said. “It will not make a drop of water for California. [The project] will destroy the areas where the water comes from to try to solve problems in other parts of the state.”
But, a spokesperson from the California Natural Resources Agency tells FOX40 the Delta water quality would not change under the project. “If the proposed project were built, federal and state water project operators still must meet the same water quality standards that are in place now to protect Delta farmers and residents from saltwater intrusion” Nancy Vogel told FOX40 in a written statement.
San Joaquin County is the largest agricultural county along the Delta. The county’s farm bureau director released a statement Monday, which stated in part:
“This is about trying to take our water and our future away to benefit junior water right holders south of the Delta. They get our water. [and] We get a permanent salt infested water body and no economic future.”