From News Line, a daily compilation of farm water news distributed to CFWC members and others upon request. To receive News Line, click here.

Column: Piepho finds little to recommend in Bay Delta Conservation Plan

Coalition response…Federal ESA regulations cut deliveries of water this year to San Joaquin Valley farmers by 80 percent. No documented proof exists to show that taking this water to protect endangered fish has benefited the species. Almost 4,000 farmers and 25 million Californians are seeking to restore the reliable delivery of water they already have a right to receive. Supervisor Mary Piepho wrongly describes it as “another water grab.”

In his speech near Los Banos on August 18, 1962, President John F. Kennedy praised Californians when he said, “…one part of your state has been willing to help another.” He was, of course, speaking at the groundbreaking of San Luis Reservoir, part of the Central Valley Project (CVP). According to the Bureau of Reclamation’s website, the CVP was originally conceived, “…to protect the Central Valley from crippling water shortages and devastating floods.”  Ironically, the first element constructed as part of the CVP was the Contra Costa Canal, which serves Piepho’s district.

Piepho compares the Bay Delta Conservation Plan and its proposed tunnels to the peripheral canal of 1982. The water capacity of the tunnels is only 9,000 cubic feet per second, compared to 21,800 cfs proposed by the peripheral canal. The Plan also calls for dual conveyance of water through the Delta that will assist in maintaining in-Delta water quality. The peripheral canal would have been operated as an isolated facility with no in-Delta water benefits. Learn more about this comparison at

Sadly, attitudes are different today. Politicians willingly twist the facts about projects like the Bay Delta Conservation Plan to suit their own political needs. They ignore history and the intent of Congress to provide water for farmers who grow food for the nation.

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