Will Sacramento River pipeline be enough?

Jul 25, 2012

California Levee System Vulnerable To Natural Disasters

Current water pump pipes in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, an area that has been heavily impacted by our water needs. Credit: David McNew/Getty Images

Governor Jerry Brown and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar will announce a proposed plan today to build two massive tunnels that would carry water south from the Sacramento River.

The project would cost $14 billion and construction would start in 2017. It is scheduled to take nine years to complete.

Project proponents say the “peripheral tunnel” would provide the state with a more reliable supply of water and help restore the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. Opponents say the state should focus on improving existing infrastructure and water conservation.

The project could impact already threatened and endangered species and ecosystems. Environmentalists could file lawsuits once a final environmental impact statement is released. Farmers say they need the water and can’t conserve any more than they already are.

Will this water delivery system be enough to support our growing population needs? Or does the state need to come up with different ways of dealing with an already strapped water situation?


Steve Arakawa, Manager of Bay-Delta Initiatives, Metropolitan Water District of Southern California

Jim Metropulos, Senior Advocate, Sierra Club California and a water specialist

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