Amendment No 2 to JEPAThe Department of Water Resources has executed a 2nd amendment to the Joint Exercise of Powers Agreement (JEPA) with the Delta Conveyance Design and Construction Authority (DCA.)  The 2nd Amendment would allow the DCA to start acquiring property and easements for the Delta tunnel project at 60% engineering design for any part of the project.  It is unclear when the DCA is planning to be at 60% design, and whether land will be acquired for the Delta tunnel project before the Final Environmental Impact Report and Notice of Determination under CEQA.

Exhibit E to the 2nd Amendment to the JPA states:

The Authority shall conduct real property transactions (fee and easement), utility relocations, appraisals, offers, and interim property management, identification, disposal of surplus lands, and other right-of-way functions in the name of the DWR according to DWR’s rules, regulations, policy and procedures.

Exhibit E explains how the DCA will determine what lands, easements, and rights of way need: to be acquired, and develop and submit a Real Estate Plan for approval by DWR:

The Authority will determine the lands, easements and rights-of-way necessary for construction, operation and maintenance of the conveyance facility including those rights required for temporary construction areas, mitigation sites, borrow sites, spoil sites, access/haul routes, staging areas, private and public utility relocations, temporary and permanent power, and providing relocation assistance for qualified occupants and businesses of acquired property, as required by state and federal statutes, rules and regulations described in detail below.  […]

Real Estate Plan: The Authority will develop and submit to DWR a Real Estate Plan(s). The Authority may elect to submit a Real Estate Plan by Project Element, Project Feature, or Project Phase. The Project Real Estate Plan will include information gathered during the Acquisition Planning and Property Assessment Phases of the Land Acquisition process shown in Exhibit A.

The Real Estate Plans will include a narrative description of the identified real estate requirements including a breakdown of Authority’s estimate of total acreage to be acquired, and type of real property interests to be acquired. The Real Estate Plans shall include all lands required for other Conveyance Project purposes, such as mitigation and other regulatory needs and identify proposed end land uses for project lands…

The Authority’s Project Real Estate Plan will need to be based on, at a minimum, 60% designs, plans and specifications, which shall include: topographic drawings with the Project design features illustrated, assessor parcel numbers (APN), property lines, flood management structure, private utility relocations with the responsible party to relocate or protect in place noted and mitigation sites, borrow sites, spoil sites, access/haul routes, and staging areas. Additional items to consider include identifying potential uneconomic remnants, parcels to be acquired for exchange purposes, a proposal for excess lands, and interim property management.

It is currently unclear if the DCA is planning to publicly disclose the  “Real Estate Plans” submitted for approval to the Department of Water Resources, or the property that is acquired under the Real Estate Plans.  The Joint Exercise of Powers Agreement only requires the DCA to give the Department of Water Resources “access as requested to its records relating to … land acquisition.”

Posted by: Deirdre Des Jardins | June 8, 2020

Systemic racism and implementation of environmental laws in California

In light of recent events, we all need to be considering how California systematically fails to protect the lives of black and minority residents.  It’s not just turning a blind eye to police misconduct, but also failing to value black and minority lives in implementation of environmental laws.


California smog.   Art Page

Pollution disproportionately impacts minority communities.  As reported by Tony Barbarossa in the LA Times, a 2014 California Environmental Protection Agency analysis found that

Nearly 10% of residents of the most polluted ZIP Codes are black, though they make up only 6% of the population statewide … Whites, in contrast, are more than 40% of the state’s population but only 16% of residents of the most polluted ZIP Codes.


Latinos account for nearly two-thirds of residents in the top 10% most polluted ZIP Codes despite making up only 38% of the state’s population…

The disproportionate exposure to pollution has a very real effects on black Californians.  One of the worst impacts is increased incidence of asthma. According to a 2013 report by the California Department of Public Health, “[c]ompared to Whites, Blacks have 40% higher asthma prevalence, four times higher asthma ED visit and hospitalization rates, and two times higher asthma death rates.” There is no doubt that increased exposure to air pollution is a major contributor.

California’s Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) allows community groups and nonprofits to challenge projects that would result in increased exposure to air, water, and groundwater pollution. But developers and other rich and powerful interests have sought to undermine CEQA’s citizen enforcement of environmental protections under the guise of “streamlining.”

One of the worst “reform” bills is AB 3279, California Environmental Quality Act: administrative and judicial procedures, introduced by Assemblymember Laura Friedman.

AB 3279 would prioritize hearing of California’s Environmental Quality Act cases over all other civil cases, including civil rights and police misconduct cases, potentially leading to significant delays and increases in costs for those cases. (Section 21167.1 (a).)

AB 3279 would also make it prohibitively expensive for disadvantaged minority communities to challenge polluting projects in their neighborhoods. Current law allows community groups and nonprofits filing CEQA petitions to prepare the administrative record for the court case. This usually results in a substantial decrease in costs for the litigation.

AB 3279 would only allow CEQA petitioners to prepare the CEQA administrative record if the lead agency requests it.  (Section 21167.6) The environmental attorneys I have talked have universally stated that AB 3279’s cost-shifting provision would effectively end CEQA challenges to projects by community groups and nonprofits, and even put nonprofits out of business.

In one widely publicized case, California Oak Foundation v. UC Regents, the UC Regents initially notified the California Oak Foundation that preparing the CEQA record would cost $24,000, but then billed the Foundation for $51,000.

Because AB 3279 would create huge barriers for Environmental Justice lawsuits, the bill was opposed by

  • California Environmental Justice Alliance
  • Center on Race, Poverty & the Environment
  • Communities for a Better Environment
  • Leadership Counsel for Justice & Accountability
  • Physicians for Social Responsibility – Los Angeles

AB 3279 is also opposed by Sierra Club California, the Center for Biological Diversity, and other environmental groups, as well as the State Building and Construction Trades Council.

With the Capitol building on lockdown due to the pandemic, AB 3279 passed the Assembly Monday morning, June 8, 2020. It is unclear that the Assemblymembers who voted for the bill even bothered to consider the reasons for opposition to the bill by Environmental Justice, environmental, and labor groups.

There is little doubt that AB 3279 would have enormous impacts on disadvantaged minority communities throughout the state, as well as resulting in delays for civil rights and police misconduct lawsuits.

On Monday, June 1, 2020, the State Water Resources Control Board sent a letter to Ernest Conant, Mid-Pacific Director of the Bureau of Reclamation, objecting to Reclamation’s 2020 Sacramento River Temperature Management Plan.

Under Water Right Order 90-5, Reclamation is required to operate Shasta and Keswick Dams to provide adequate cold water in the Sacramento River for Chinook salmon. Reclamation’s new operations of Shasta Reservoir aggressively release water for exports south of the Delta, depleting Shasta’s cold water pool.  Environmental groups and Water Board staff were concerned that Reclamation estimated that there could be 28 percent temperature dependent mortality of in Winter Run Chinook salmon under the proposed operations.


Shasta Dam / Robert Campbell / CC BY-SA

As explained by the Natural Resources Defense Council et. al.,

While inflow to Shasta in 2020 has been very low, Reclamation also began the year with maximum water storage behind Shasta Dam. Reclamation has the ability to provide better water temperatures and  reduced mortality of endangered salmon, but instead chose to “maximize water deliveries.” The level of temperature‐dependent mortality predicted this year is unreasonable, particularly given this level of water storage at the beginning of the year. Moreover, Reclamation’s proposed operations would greatly reduce carryover storage in Shasta, leaving California vulnerable if 2021 is also dry.

State Water Board staff expressed similar concerns and requested “approaches that could lower mortality and improve carryover storage conditions.”

The State Water Board’s letter to Conant states:

State Water Board staff repeatedly requested that Reclamation provide information on operational scenarios other than those proposed in Reclamation’s TMP that could allow for better temperature control. Unfortunately, Reclamation has failed to provide the requested information. This information is needed to inform adequate temperature management. Since Reclamation has declined to provide the information, the State Water Board does not have sufficient information to make a well-informed decision on Reclamation’s final TMP. We are therefore unable to approve the TMP, and object to the plan.

In the spirit of cooperative federalism, we expect that Reclamation will provide the information we requested. In order to be in a position to potentially improve temperature conditions this year, the State Water Board needs the requested analyses within 20 days from the date of this letter. If this information is provided timely, we will reevaluate the TMP and consider approval at that time.

It is unclear whether Reclamation shares the State Water Board’s “spirit of cooperative federalism.”

The COVID-19 pandemic could have significant impacts on population growth in California, due to reduced immigration, as well as reduced birth rates due to the massive economic impacts.  This should be taken into account in planning for future infrastructure needs, including water supply infrastructure.

The demographic projections by the Department of Finance in the Governor’s 2020-21 Budget showed a significant reduction in forecasted population growth, stating:

Recently updated population projections reflect decreased expectations for future population growth. The net annual population increase is expected to fall to less than 100,000 by 2045, and close to zero net growth by 2060. Fewer births lead to fewer adults, which compounds the slowing growth over time. The current projections series reach a total population of 45 million by 2060, rather than 50 million in the previous iteration.   (2020-21 Full Budget Summary, p. 206.)

Annual population 20-21 budget proj

Projected Annual Population Growth, 2020-21 Budget

If net migration continues to be close to zero, rather than increasing as projected by the Department of Finance in December of 2019, projected population growth would decrease significantly.  In discussing the projections DOF also noted:

The new projections assume the state reverts to net migration flows of around 100,000 per year in the long term, in line with the average during 2010 through 2019… In a scenario with zero net migration, the state’s population peaks at 42 million in 2038 and thereafter declines to 40 million by 2060. (2020-21 Full Budget Summary, p. 207.)

If there is a prolonged, deep recession, birth rates could also be reduced. A study by Brian Finch et. al. of adverse birth outcomes in California during the Great Recession found that the total fertility rate declined just prior to the Great Recession in 2007, and leveled off from 2010 to 2012. Those with a less than High School Education had sharp declines in birth rates after the start of the Great Recession.

While the long term effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the California economy and on immigration are still uncertain, it also seems clear that assumptions of future growth in California based on pre-pandemic population trends should be re-examined, as should water supply planning based on those assumptions.

See related commentary from Dan Walters on May 21:

California population may be peaking


This post was updated on May 31, 2020 to include links to Dan Walters’ commentary.

Posted by: Deirdre Des Jardins | May 11, 2020

Ag groups’ claims on causes of food shortages don’t hold water

On May 1, 2020, the California Farm Bureau Federation joined the California Farm Water Coalition, the Family Farm Alliance, and many other agricultural groups in sending a letter to Governor Gavin Newsom requesting that the Governortake the necessary steps to help secure next year’s food supply” by directing “your agencies and departments to find ways to maximize water supplies for farmers this year, until such time that we can normalize the food supply chain from farmer to grocery store shelf.”

But the premise of the Farm Bureau / Farm Water Coalition / Family Farm Alliance letter falls apart on close examination. The disruptions to the food supply chain from the COVID-19 pandemic are not based on a lack of production in the fields.  Rather, the disruptions are based on major shifts in consumption patterns because of the pandemic and on resulting problems with distribution.

The California Farm Bureau Federation conducted an online survey of members between April 7 and April 21.  As reported in the Central Valley Business Times, “nearly 57 percent of respondents said they had lost customers or sales during the pandemic, with most citing stay-at-home orders that had closed customers’ businesses.”

In the past few months, California has seen fresh produce plowed under, and milk being dumped.  There has been a shortage of the same commodities in grocery stores, and record demand at food banks.

Lettuce California USDA

Lettuce field   Photo courtesy of USDA NRCS

Fresh produce

In Coalinga, Harris Farms reported plowing under 6 million heads of iceberg lettuce on over 254 acres because there was no market, due to loss of food service sales. An April 11, 2020 article by Manuela Tobias and Robert Rodriguez stated:

For many farmers, it’s more cost-effective to let crops rot in the fields. They can’t afford to harvest it if there is no market for it, and food banks can’t cover the full cost of labor.

“The food system was built to make sure every single Outback Steakhouse and Chili’s has access to every single food item,” said Cannon Michael, president of Bowles Farming Company in Los Banos. “To have a system like that means that if the demand collapses, there’s a ton of waste that happens.”

Plowing produce crops under when prices are too low has been a long standing issue in California. As reported by Manuela Tobias in October 2019, Gregory Baker et. al. at Santa Clara University found that

…farmers tend to overproduce to fulfill their contracts with buyers. They plant about a third more than they need in case of weather, pests, plant disease, labor availability, field stability and over-or under-sized crops. If after delivering, the price is too low, they leave the rest to rot.

Milk and dairy products

Tobias and Rodriguez’ April 11, 2020 article also stated,

Dairy farmers in the San Joaquin Valley, the center of the state’s dairy industry, were forced to dump thousands of gallons of raw milk in recent weeks because restaurants, schools and exports have all but dried up.

“We’re producing 10% more than we can process,” said Anja Raudabaugh, CEO of Western United Dairies. “That’s a lot of milk.”

One of the main reasons cited by dairies for not providing the surplus milk to food banks, was that “federal regulations require that milk be processed first, and that costs money dairy farmers don’t have right now.”

Food insecurity from economic disruption

The problems with getting food to stores are thus due to disruptions in the supply chain due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The disconnect between food production and food availability to California’s families will likely get worse as economic impacts of the pandemic ripple through the economy.

According to an April 23, 2020 memo prepared by the Kern County Water Agency for their April Board meeting packet, the Delta Conveyance Design and Construction Authority

…delivered its “footprint” engineering to DWR on April 1, 2020. The “footprint” engineering serves as the starting point for the environmental analysis necessary for the EIR.

According to a timeline in the Kern County Water Agency memo, the Department of Water Resources was going to produce cost estimates for the Delta tunnel project by the end of April.  The cost estimates would likely be needed to inform the negotiations with the State Water Contractors for an Agreement in Principle on a contract for the Delta Conveyance.

KCWA Delta tunnel timeline

The Delta Conveyance Design and Construction Authority’s transmission of the initial Delta tunnel project “footprint” appears to not be in conformance with requirements of the Delta Plan.  Delta Plan policy P2 requires consultation with local agencies and the Delta Protection Commission on siting of the project facilities.

P2. Respect Local Land Use when Siting Water or Flood Facilities or Restoring Habitats.

(a) Water management facilities, ecosystem restoration, and flood management infrastructure must be sited to avoid or reduce conflicts with existing uses or those uses described or depicted in city and county general plans for their jurisdictions or spheres of influence when feasible, considering comments from local agencies and the Delta Protection Commission. Plans for ecosystem restoration must consider sites on existing public lands, when feasible and consistent with a project’s purpose, before privately owned sites are purchased. Measures to mitigate conflicts with adjacent uses may include, but are not limited to, buffers to prevent adverse effects on adjacent farmland.

(underlining added.)

Although the Delta Conveyance Design and Construction Authority has appointed Dr. Mel Lytle, Assistant Director of Utilities for the City of Stockton to the Delta Stakeholder Engagement Committee, no other Delta water districts are participating in the Stakeholder Engagement Committee, nor are Delta counties.

Secretary Wade Crowfoot wrote to Delta stakeholders in September of 2019 and explained that the Delta Stakeholder Engagement Committee was not meant to be the primary venue for stakeholder input on the project.

On Wednesday, April 22, 2020, the Delta tunnel Stakeholder Engagement Committee (SEC) met to consider the design for the Southern Forebay proposed by the Delta Conveyance Design and Construction Authority.  Prior to the meeting, several Stakeholder Engagement Committee members had written to the Delta Conveyance Design and Construction Authority, requesting postponement of further SEC meetings until Governor Newsom’s shelter in place order is lifted.

Many SEC members spoke out strongly at the beginning of the SEC meeting, requesting that future meetings be postponed until Delta residents could engage on the project design. The members were told by DCA Executive Director Kathryn Mallon that “the due date is not moving.”  Mallon said that the Stakeholder Engagement Committee members could choose to not meet, but if so, they would simply lose the opportunity to have any input into the project design.

Carrie Buckman, DWR’s Environmental Program Manager, gave an exceedingly vague explanation, stating that “we are trying to move this forward in an expedient manner …. because we want to continue this planning effort.”

It is clear that the real driver of the rigid deadlines is the engineering design schedule for the single tunnel project.  The engineering design schedule is based on having a final engineering design by the end of FY 2021-22, the original deadline for the twin tunnels project final engineering design.

Below is the current status of the engineering design schedule, from Executive Director Kathryn Mallon’s Report in the April 16, 2020 DCA Board meeting packet, p. 37.  Mallon’s report states that the DCA is four weeks behind based on deliverable status, and that “the engineering team has ramped up their resources and will continue recovering the time in the upcoming month.”

The Conceptual Engineering Report is scheduled to be finished by the end of September, with the conceptual tunnel and shaft design finished in May, the conceptual design of the intakes and pumping plant in August, and the South Delta forebay and conveyance to Banks pumping plant in September.

DCA April 2020 engineering schedule

The engineering schedule is basically the same as the original WaterFix / twin tunnels engineering design schedule.  Below is the 2018 WaterFix project engineering / construction schedule from the January 2018 edition of Tunnel Talk Magazine.  Only the land acquisition, utilities and site work, and construction activities have been paused.

Year 1 – 2018 – Requests for Qualifications (RFQs) and leadership staffing
Year 2 — 2019 — Engineering design and field work contracts signed, preliminary engineering
Year 3 — 2020 — Preliminary engineering
Year 4 — 2021 — Intakes and pumping plant design finished
Year 5 — 2022 — Final engineering design


There is no room in this schedule for the COVID-19 pandemic.

Posted by: Deirdre Des Jardins | April 21, 2020

The Project Formerly Known as WaterFix

Although the Department of Water Resources rescinded all approvals of WaterFix project in May of 2019, the Delta Conveyance Design and Construction Authority has been continuing engineering and geotechnical work on a single tunnel project under supervision of the Department of Water Resources.

In June of 2019, Delta Defenders, the Delta Chambers and Visitor’s Bureau, North Delta Cares, and other Delta community-based organizations sent a letter to the Department of Water Resources asking that DWR cancel the Notice to Proceed on the Delta tunnel contracts.  In response DWR’s Deputy Director Gary Lippner stated:

we have rescinded all WaterFix-related permitting, approvals and applications. Neither the Department of Water Resources (DWR) nor the Delta Conveyance Design and Construction Authority (DCA) is continuing work on that project or currently performing any new planning based on the previous WaterFix approvals.

But in December 2019 DCA Director Kathryn Mallon met with engineers from five international tunneling firms to review the engineering design for the single tunnel project.  For specifications of project facilities, Mallon gave the engineers a copy of the July 2018 WaterFix Conceptual Engineering Report.  And in January 2020 the DCA’s Engineering Manager, Phil Ryan, announced that the DCA had used information from the WaterFix project to decide that the intake design and locations from the previous project would be used for the new single tunnel project.

Intake 2

Fishing groups strongly opposed the massive WaterFix intakes as far too large for the tidal location and likely catastrophic for salmon.  The Delta communities of Hood and Clarksburg were horrified at the noise impacts from construction of the massive intakes.

EIS noise contours

Modifications to the WaterFix intake design and location are critical to limiting the impacts of the single tunnel on Delta communities and fish, as directed by Governor Newsom.  But when the DCA’s Stakeholder Engagement Committee members and members of the public asked if the Delta Conveyance Design and Construction Authority would analyze alternative locations for the intakes, DWR’s representative said to submit them as part of the CEQA scoping comments.  Those comments were due during the height of the coronavirus pandemic.

Delta Counties, Delta residents, Delta business owners, Delta community-based organizations, Tribal representatives, fishing and non-governmental organizations have all asked the Department of Water Resources (DWR) to pause Delta tunnel planning processes that require public participation due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Department of Water Resources has refused. California Water Research and Delta Defenders submitted CEQA scoping comments which argued that, to the extent that scoping is used to determine the only alternatives to be analyzed by the DCA in their engineering design efforts, DWR’s process is an abuse of discretion.


Under the supervision of the Department of Water Resources, the Delta Conveyance Design and Construction Authority has been conducting outreach to Delta stakeholders on the engineering design for the Delta tunnel.

In November 2019, the DCA appointed 16 Delta stakeholders to a Delta Stakeholder Engagement Committee. The members represented a broad range of Delta interests, from Delta businesses to sportfishing, recreation, environmental justice, an aquatic and terrestrial NGOs.  Each committee member was tasked with receiving information on the proposed Delta tunnel project design and conveying the information to their respective stakeholders, and conveying feedback on the proposed design to the DCA. In making the appointments, the DCA reserved the right to remove committee members at any time, and for no reason.

The continuation of the Delta stakeholder engagement process during the COVID-19 pandemic has been strongly opposed by Delta Counties, Delta residents and several Delta Stakeholder Engagement Committee members.

On March 16, 2020 Karen Mann, the president of Save the California Delta Alliance, sent a letter to DWR  Director Karla Nemeth and the DCA Executive Director, Kathryn Mallon calling for a pause in the Stakeholder Engagement Committee meetings.

Malissa Tayaba, the Tribal representative to the Delta Stakeholder Engagement Committee, sent a letter to the DCA calling for the Stakeholder Engagement Committee meetings to be put on hold. The letter cited the fact that both the state AB 52 and federal National Historic Preservation Act processes were paused due to the pandemic.

Delta Defenders, a Delta community-based organization, also sent a letter to Karla Nemeth and the DCA calling for a pause in the Delta tunnel stakeholder engagement process.  The letter cited the effects of the pandemic on Delta Counties, Delta cities, Delta legacy communities, Delta businesses, and Delta residents.

On April 7, the Delta Counties Coalition sent a letter to Natural Resources Secretary Wade Crowfoot requesting that the Delta Stakeholder Engagement Committee meetings be put on hold.

The Delta Counties Coalition (DCC) respectfully requests that you direct the
Department of Water Resources (DWR) to pause all Delta Conveyance Project planning and engineering design processes that require Delta stakeholder engagement during the COVID-19 crisis, until the public can fully participate. We request that you ask the Delta Conveyance Design and Construction Authority (DCA) to pause its processes that require public participation, including Stakeholder Engagement Committee meetings, so that the Delta tunnel engineering design can be informed by meaningful public input. We also ask that you direct DWR and other resource agencies to extend public comment periods by at least 45 days beyond the end of the declared emergency.

At the Delta Protection Commission’s April 9, 2020 teleconference meeting, the DCA’s Executive Director, Kathryn Mallon, attempted to report to the DPC nenbers that the Delta Stakeholder Engagement Committee members were “willing and able to continue” with Stakeholder Engagement Committee meetings during the pandemic. Mallon’s report failed spectacularly when committee members spoke during public comment and contradicted her.

The Delta Protection Commission  meeting agenda had an update by Kathryn Mallon on the Delta Stakeholder Engagement Committee:

  1. Receive update on Delta Conveyance Project environmental review and Delta Conveyance Design and Construction Authority (DCA) Stakeholder Engagement Committee – Carrie Buckman (California Department of Water Resources) and Kathryn Mallon (DCA)

Mallon presented a glossy powerpoint about the DCA’s Stakeholder Engagement Committee process.  During her presentation, Mallon said that the DCA staff had talked to the SEC members and they were all willing and able to continue via web and teleconference, with the exception of one SEC member who had a situation with a family member with an illness.

Then the DPC had public comment.  Jesus Tarango (SEC Tribal Representative alternate), and representatives from many other tribes spoke and said they did not want the Delta Stakeholder Engagement Committee meetings and other tunnel planning processes to continue.  Malissa Tayaba (SEC Tribal representative) sent a letter asking that the process be paused until 45 days after the public health emergency is declared over.

Cecille Giacoma (SEC Public Safety Representative) said that she told the DCA staff there was no way her constituents could engage, and said that they were having issues with an increase in crime in her area, and public safety officers not being around because of the pandemic.

Anna Swenson (SEC Sacramento County at large Representative) said that she had her 5 kids at home and that she had told the DCA that she couldn’t engage right now.

The Delta Protection Commission members then agreed that the Delta Stakeholder Engagement Committee process needed to pause.  The DPC voted to send a letter asking DWR and the DCA to postpone the Stakeholder Engagement Committee meetings.

On April 9, Restore the Delta has sent a letter to Governor Newsom calling for a pause in public processes related to the Delta tunnel planning.

The Delta Conveyance Design and Construction Authority has it’s next Board meeting on Thursday, April 16.   The Board meeting packet includes a report by DCA consultant Nazli Parvizi’s on the Delta Stakeholder Engagement Committee. Parvizi’s report has no mention of the opposition by Stakeholder Engagement Committee members to the continuation of the meetings during the pandemic.  Stakeholder Engagement Committee members have reported being pressured by Parvizi to participate in the next SEC meeting on April 22.

None of the letters of opposition to the continuation of the DCA’s Delta Stakeholder Engagement Committee meetings during the pandemic are included in the April 16 Board meeting packet, and, as of April 14, none have been posted on the DCA’s website.

This post was updated at 11:30 am on April 14 to link to letters from the Delta Protection Commission and Delta Defenders.

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.


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