Seven million Californians call the Bay Area home, with the iconic waters of San Francisco Bay making this one of the best places in the world to live.
Now the Bay is at risk – and with it, the jobs, recreation and wildlife that depend on a healthy Bay.
The threat is the “Twin Tunnels” project — an expensive, misguided, experimental proposal to divert more Sacramento River water around San Francisco Bay for transport to the Southern San Joaquin Valley and Southern California. The fresh water the Bay receives from the Sacramento River is critical to maintaining the ecology and economic vitality of the Bay.
THE TWIN TUNNELS PROJECT: A wildly expensive experiment
The Twin Tunnels project will take up to $67 billion and at least 15 years to build, making it irrelevant as a solution to California’s drought. The tunnels would each be 40 feet in diameter and 30 miles long, traveling through challenging terrain. This would be one of the longest and largest water tunnels ever built in America. State agency documents admit that the tunnels are far larger than needed for the current water flow, which would open the door to more water exported to the Southern San Joaquin Valley and Southern California in the future.
THE ECOLOGY OF THE BAY: Fragile and under stress
San Francisco Bay is part of the largest estuary on the West Coast south of Alaska. For decades, significant amounts of Sacramento River water have been diverted to southern California, bypassing San Francisco Bay’s estuary, resulting in drastic reductions in fish and wildlife and a decline in water quality. The Bay’s ecosystem is already stretched to the breaking point. Less fresh water will allow salt water to intrude further upstream into the Sacramento River Delta estuary and threaten the Bay’s ecological balance.
SPECIAL INTEREST PRESSURE: Troubled project on a fast track
Southern California and San Joaquin Valley special interests are using the drought to put this project on a fast track – even though the Twin Tunnels will take so long to build that they won’t help with the drought. Because of objections from federal watchdog agencies, the state bureaucrats in charge are being forced to make significant changes in the proposal. State agencies want to begin construction in early 2016. This troubled project is merely the latest version of the failed Peripheral Canal scheme, which was defeated by the voters in a public referendum in 1982.
THE ALTERNATIVE: Faster, cheaper water
The Twin Tunnels are a throwback to the old days of massive centralized infrastructure projects. We support faster and cheaper local alternatives that can provide reliable water for cities, farms and the environment. The Environmental Water Caucus has proposed a comprehensive water plan to meet California’s needs, including more investments in water conservation, groundwater replenishment, stormwater catchment and water recycling.
Californians have shown this year that they are ready to step up and conserve water for the greater good. We’ve saved more than 25% through simple, low-cost strategies in a matter of months.
San Francisco Bay is the heart of the Bay Area. We are a group of citizens from around the Bay Area who have come together to save the Bay that we love. Learn more and add your voice atwww.protectourwater.net and follow us on Twitter at @ProtectSFBay and on Facebook atFacebook.com/ProtectOurH2O.