Monday, August 03, 2009

Delta Tunnel

Going under the Delta to move water around the state is being studied, according to this article from the San Diego Union-Tribune.

It is always good to see our state government stretching to embrace advanced technological solutions to the problem of storing and moving water.

An excerpt.

“' — SACRAMENTO – A possible answer to Southern California's water-delivery woes has emerged right underfoot, literally.

“The state Department of Water Resources is exploring the price and engineering challenges associated with digging a roughly 35-mile tunnel under the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to bring more supplies to Southern California.

“We don't have the costs worked out,” said Lester Snow, California's water chief. “We have to look at the trade-off between the extra costs of tunneling and how it compares to a canal.”

“Although still in its early stages, the tunnel proposal intrigues water managers frustrated by the inability to secure sufficient supplies – especially during the state's prolonged drought – and worried that they may never overcome fierce resistance to building a new above-ground canal.

“In 1982, voters rejected a measure to construct the 43-mile Peripheral Canal designed to move water through the delta and toward thirsty cities and farms.

“In recent years, opposition to a smaller canal has softened somewhat as drought and regulations meant to protect endangered fish have greatly limited the amount of water pumped south.

“The delta, an estuary encompassing 1,100 miles of waterways, is near collapse. The fishery is troubled, some levees are crumbling, waterways are becoming polluted, and valuable farmland is subsiding.

“But tens of millions of people rely on the delta as a prime distribution channel. About one-third of the San Diego region's water supplies and two-thirds of the state's flow through it.

“The tunnel alternative offers some benefits, particularly by limiting the number of properties that would have to be condemned along the canal route, Snow said. Going underground also could be less harmful to fish and wildlife.”