State Water Board Hearings on Jerry Brown’s Delta Tunnels Begin Tuesday

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Hearings before the California State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) regarding Governor Jerry Brown’s Delta Tunnels will begin on Tuesday, July 26, 2016 at 9:00 AM at the Joe Serna Cal EPA Building in Sacramento,1001 I Street, Sacramento.

The hearings regarding the controversial project, renamed the California WaterFix last year, will start with policy statements on Tuesday. The hearing is expected to last for weeks.

In 2015, the California Department of Water Resources and U.S. Bureau of Reclamation requested permits for new water diversion intakes on the Sacramento River and water quality certification under the Clean Water Act, essential permits required before construction of the Delta Tunnels.

Why is this important? “The Board is obligated under state and federal law, to ensure a project that prevents harm to local water users, protects the public interest, and protects public trust resources while preventing an unreasonable method of diversion of water,” according to a statement from Restore the Delta (RTD).

“This will be the first chance for Northern California stakeholders to publically state their concerns before a decision-making body. Hundreds of groups, individuals, and interests are scheduled to address the board,” RTD stated.

Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, executive director of Restore the Delta, said, “It is now up to the backers of the Delta Tunnels to prove their project would not violate state and federal laws that protect the estuary, the fish that live there, and all the communities who depend on a healthy estuary for their water. The burden of proof is on the tunnels proponents. We believe they cannot meet that burden of proof.”

The 2015 report “A Sustainable Water Plan for California” outlines alternatives to the Delta Tunnels that would create long-lasting jobs and develop regional water sustainability in a changing climate: