Delta tunnel engineering design rushes forward as major disaster declared in California

On Wednesday, March 19, the Delta Conveyance Design and Construction Authority  ((DCA) held their monthly Board meeting via web conference.  For the meeting, DCA engineer Phil Ryan presented maps of a modified WaterFix project, with two intakes, a single tunnel, and new access roads.  A second set of maps for a potential eastern alignment of the main tunnel was also presented.
The DCA Executive Director’s report stated,
There were two meetings of the Stakeholder
Engagement Committee in February. The first meeting
(Feb 12) focused on design, siting, and logistics of launch
shafts. The engineering team presented a shaft siting
methodology and analysis results and invited feedback
from the SEC members. The second meeting (Feb 26)
focused on design, siting, and logistics of retrieval and
maintenance shafts.
The DCA has been reviewing individual system
components with the SEC working our way form North to
South. The Committee has asked that we start providing
more “system-wide” information so the upcoming
meetings will look at the entire alignment with selected
sites to help facilitate SEC feedback.
The Executive Director’s report showed that the March 25 Delta Stakeholder Engagement Committee meeting was cancelled, but meetings scheduled for April 22 and May 27 are still planned.  The DCA continues planning to require responses to the proposed Delta tunnel design, in spite of a heartfelt plea by Delta residents to postpone further stakeholder engagement until the public health emergency is more under control.
The DCA Executive Director’s report shows that the DCA is still trying to meet the original engineering schedule, in spite of the pandemic.  The conceptual tunnel and shaft engineering design is scheduled to be finished in May of 2020.
Finishing the tunnel and shaft design by May of 2020 with any real Delta stakeholder input would appear to be increasingly unrealistic.  On Saturday, March 21, at Governor Newsom’s request, President Trump declared a major disaster in California. As of Monday, March 23, 2020, COVID-19 cases in the United States are doubling every two to three days.
The DCA’s plan to conduct Delta Stakeholder Engagement Committee meetings by web conference during what is likely to be the height of the pandemic in California simply fails to consider the very real impacts on Delta communities.


3 thoughts on “Delta tunnel engineering design rushes forward as major disaster declared in California

  1. Does the need to build a gargantuan tunnel under the Delta justify doing it without proper input from the communities being negatively impacted by it during an extraordinary public health emergency? Of course it does not!

  2. How are farmers going to get trucks in to send their crops to market with all the construction going on? Will you be able to irrigate? How about the noise and issues with individuals well for their own water supply? This is just the start of my questions!

  3. The idea of rerouting Delta water south to Los Angeles and environs has been around for decades. It is a truly awful plan and should be shelved forever. First there was the idea of a Peripheral Canal. Now it’s either two tunnels or one. All are terrible.

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