By Lisa Vorderbrueggen
Thursday, July 17th, 2008 at 1:39 pm in Environment.
Contra Costa Times colleague Mike Taugher has just posted a story about a new report from the Public Policy Institute of California where experts conclude that the highly prickly proposed Peripheral Canal offers the best option for the failing Delta environment:
A team of experts says the best way to fix California’s troubled water system is to build a controversial peripheral canal that would deliver water around the Delta rather than through it.
Their report concludes a canal would be the cheapest economic alternative and the best choice for the environment short of cutting off altogether Delta water shipments to the Bay Area, San Joaquin Valley and Southern California.
“Ultimately, there are two choices here: no exports or a peripheral canal. If there are no exports, the biggest losers are the Bay Area (residents),” said Jay Lund, a UC Davis engineering professor and one of the report’s co-authors.
Historically, Contra Costa County politicians have vehemently opposed such a canal on the grounds that it would allow saltwater intrusion into the water its residents drink.
Also, as Taugher writes, voters rejected a canal in 1982 because of overwhelming opposition in the Bay Area and the rest of Northern California, where there was deep concern the canal would allow Southern California to greatly increase the amount of water it imports from the north.
But California is grappling with a drought, a Delta in crisis and an ever-expanding population, all factors that could alter the politics around state water policy.