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Five Decades of Magical Thinking: How California’s Water Policy is Founded on a Bankrupt 53-year-old Fantasy

California Water Impact Network (C-WIN) | May 5th, 2012

Recent revelations confirm that California’s water policy is founded on a decades-old water deficit, one that will only be compounded by Jerry Brown’s Twin Tunnels project—a boondoggle scheme that would attempt to meet unsustainable contractual obligations by draining the Sacramento/San Joaquin Delta of fresh water. The real issue here is not about how water is conveyed; it’s about whether there is enough water for more conveyance or storage.

When California officials built the State Water Project in 1960, they knew it would run out of water by 1981. To make up the shortfall, the state overappropriated water from the Delta. Operation of the Twin Tunnels is predicated on 1960 water availability estimates of anticipated diversions from north state rivers. These diversions from the Middle Fork Eel, the Mad and Van Duzen Rivers did not occur due to their ultimate state and federal designation as Wild and Scenic Rivers.


Monterey amendments, State Water Project (SWP), water project operations

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