More than 100 Santa Clarita Valley residents and community leaders listened Friday as Southern California water officials discussed long-term proposals for statewide infrastructure in Bay Delta Conservation Plan at College of the Canyons.
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“The delta, in its current form, is not sustainable,” said Curt Schmutte, a Metropolitan Water District consultant with more than two decades of experience with the California Department of Water Resource.
Schmutte presented about 100 slides covering the history of the delta, which is part of the Santa Clarita Valley’s water supply, and a $13 billion plan to tunnel water from the area.
The comment period for the environmental report on the plan ends July 29.
The San Joaquin-Sacramento River Delta is a major water source for the state, with hundreds of miles of channels coursing throughout the region, which accounts for about half of our imported water supply.
The Bay Delta Conservation Plan calls for two 35-mile tunnels to channel water from the Sacramento River to pumping stations by the California Aqueduct south of Stockton.
In a critical dry year, which is the current situation, the Castaic Lake Water Agency is allocated about 5 percent of its water from the State Water Project, and during normal years, that figure could be as high as 55 percent.
The state is currently in the midst of a prolonged drought, which was exacerbated by the driest year on record last year, according to Dan Masnada, general manager for the Castaic Lake Water Agency.
There are three factors, seismic activity, land subsidence or shifting ground and a rising sea levels, that could seriously disrupt the flow of water from the north for up to a year, unless the new project is constructed, Schmutte explained.
The tunnel plan has Gov. Jerry Brown’s support, according to officials.
CLWA officials said Santa Clarita Valley ratepayers would pay for the local share of construction, which would be spread throughout the state, with an increase in their annual property tax.
Early estimates for the cost of construction is expected to be about $17 per month for a home assessed at $450,000 in value, or $204 each year, according to information shared at the meeting. For a $1 million property, the figure is closer to about $38 per month.
While the cost of the tunnel is high, the cost of not doing anything to fix the infrastructure could be more than three times that amount, Schmutte said.
Castaic Lake Water Agency, the group responsible for the wholesale of water to Santa Clarita Valley water retailers, concluded the presentation by asking for letters of support for the two-tunnel project.
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Source: Santa Clarita News