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

Smelt-down fires up Delta tunnel talk

Coalition response…Despite the well-written description by the author of the current issue surrounding water deliveries and Delta smelt, those who oppose the current BDCP efforts continue to use unfounded claims such as the threat of “taking half the water out of the estuary.” Export levels of water that flows through the Delta will increase or decrease depending on the available supply of water (

Relocating the intakes along the Sacramento River just south of Sacramento also provides a water flow in the river that enable fish, such as juvenile salmon, to continue their journey toward the ocean. It is important to realize that Delta smelt are not present at this new location and the current threat to their numbers would be greatly reduced from pumping.

The intake relocation also helps to avoid the loss of water as reported in this story. The lost water, more than 727,000 acre-feet or 237 billion gallons, could have irrigated 286,000 acres of farmland, an area eight times the size of San Francisco. Crops grown on that acreage would have a value of $873 million, which economists tell us would represent a $2.2 billion contribution to the State’s economy. See more information at

Combining the new safeguards for fish with an improved water delivery is a significant step toward meeting the mandated goals of the Legislature of a reliable water supply and restored Delta ecosystem.

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