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Changing Direction On Delta Tunnels

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Sacramento, CA — State Water Officials have outlined changes the flow on the multi-billion-dollar plan for two water diversion tunnels for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Department of Water Resources (DWR) Director Mark Cowin is hopeful the planned changes will show officials are serious about doing their best to reduce impacts to Delta residents. The proposal includes moving the tunnels farther east, away from two towns, and reducing the size of a water storage reservoir from 750 acres to 10 acres.

Below is the list of changes as proposed by the DWR:

  • Shrinking the new intermediate forebay from 750 acres to 40 surface acres and shifting its location away from the towns of Hood and Courtland and closer to Interstate 5;

  • Realigning a segment of the proposed twin tunnels several miles to the east to lands owned by a private nonprofit group on Staten Island, away from the Pearson District, Brannan Island, and Walnut Grove;

  • Shortening the main tunnels from 35 miles to 30 miles;

  • Using DWR-owned properties south of Hood as a construction staging area and DWR-owned properties near Interstate 5 as a re-usable tunnel material storage area;

  • Decreasing from 151 to 81 the number of structures affected by the project;

  • Reducing from 60 feet to 30 feet the height of the intake pumping plants along the Sacramento River by relying on a mobile crane rather than a permanent gantry crane inside each building;

  • Reducing from seven to five the number of tunnel launch/retrieval shaft locations;

  • Eliminating borrow pit areas north of Hood and reducing the staging area from 400 acres to 200 acres;

  • Working with landowners and stakeholders to use excavated material to improve and preserve wildlife habitat on Zacharias Ranch on Glanville Tract and on Staten Island; and

  • Modifying and strengthening the existing Clifton Court Forebay for improved operations of north and south Delta conveyance

The plan calls for more of the dirt and chemicals removed during the drilling of the tunnels would also be deposited on state-owned land instead of private land. Critics have raised the issue that one of the tunnels will now run under land intended to preserve wildlife habitat.

Click here for an earlier story on the original Delta Tunnel Plan.