May 29, 2013
BDCP IS A COST-EFFECTIVE WATER SUPPLY SOLUTION
Questions regarding cost estimates, funding sources and effectiveness of a new water delivery system for California were answered today with the final chapters released that make up the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP), according to Mike Wade, Executive Director of the California Farm Water Coalition.
“The Bay Delta Conservation Plan is the best opportunity to provide a secure water future for all of California,” said Wade.
“The completion of BDCP answers the legislative mandate to create a reliable water supply and to restore the Delta ecosystem,” he added. “Other efforts such as increased water storage and conservation that are outside of the scope of BDCP should continue.”
The total cost of BDCP is $24.5 billion during its 50-year implementation period, as announced today by State water officials. A “beneficiary pays” process has been adopted, which means that water users will pay an estimated 68 percent of costs associated with the two tunnels. The remaining BDCP costs related to habitat restoration, pollution control, anti-poaching programs and other programs to reduce stress in the Delta are expected to be paid through State and federal sources. A final funding plan is still being developed.
“In recent years the water delivery to thousands of farmers that receive water through the Central Valley Project and State Water Project, along with 25 million Californians, has been interrupted by environmental regulations,” said Wade. “Alternatives to BDCP that have surfaced in recent months, including the NRDC ‘portfolio’ that includes a smaller conveyance facility, do not provide the benefits needed for Delta fish species.
“The two tunnels within the BDCP plan have a capacity of moving 9,000 cubic feet per second of water. The alternatives have included a single tunnel at 3,000 cfs. This means less water and a greater risk of interrupting deliveries to farms and city residents and the smaller facilities fail the cost/benefit analysis.
“Residents of Southern California depend on reliable water supplies and over the years public water agencies have been able to deliver. But the risk of earthquake and sea level rise puts that reliability in jeopardy. The cost for these consumers to insure reliable supplies in the future through BDCP is estimated at only $5 per month.”
Following public review of the BDCP chapters and the submittal of comments, a final version will be released later this year.