November 28, 2022
Department of Water Resources
P.O. Box 942836
Sacramento, CA 94236-0001
Attention: Delta Conveyance Office
This letter provides comments related to the Draft Environmental Impact Report on the Delta Conveyance Project, in particular the Bethany Reservoir Alignment. Inland Action is a non-profit, non-partisan corporation of public-spirited leaders who have joined together to be catalysts for the economic well-being of the Inland Empire region of California since 1962.
The changing climate, California’s growing population, and fragility of the Delta are issues that are well established in public records. These issues are redundantly discussed by both sides of the Delta Conveyance Project issue. What is clear is the California Water Project, perhaps the single largest economic generator in the State, is in jeopardy, and taking no action is irresponsible for the people of California.
Inland Action believes that the critical reason to support this project seems to get lost in the politics and biased positioning. California is experiencing unprecedented droughts, contrasted by a new breed of severe storms. The California Water Project cannot accommodate sudden surges in water flow because of the placement of the intakes at the southern delta. In that region the water is mostly slack even in high water flows through the delta and increasing the flow into the canal still disrupts flows and can impact environmentally fragile endangered species, as well as the natural spawning patterns of salmon. In general, we are not able to take advantage of high flows. Extremely high water flows in winter generally last no more than two days, and the required protocol for increased pumping at the delta intake is usually three days. In winter, the water cannot be simply stored in the existing reservoirs as they must maintain capacity for flood protection in spring.
The answer is to move an intake well upstream so the impacts on the delta are reduced to take advantage of the limited high flow window. Taking a small portion of flood waters creates the least amount of impact on the delta. This water is critical to the sustainability of the minimal water allocations of the California Water Project, without increasing the amount of water allocated. This important aspect of the project must be strongly considered as part of the environmental review.
Inland Action looks forward to the execution of the project. Thank you for your consideration.