A coalition of prominent labor, business and community groups are starting to campaign for the latest plumbing fix to the state’s main water-delivery hub, the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
Californians for Water Security includes the State Building & Construction Trades Council of California, California Chamber of Commerce, Natural Heritage Institute, California State Conference NAACP and various labor unions. The coalition announced today that it will advocate for Gov. Gavin Newsom’s plan to build one tunnel from the Delta to carry water south and reduce reliance on levees that are vulnerable to crumbling and earthquakes.
The entrance of the group turns up the heat on a long-simmering fight over whether to invest tens of billions of dollars in new infrastructure to prolong the state’s reliance on the Delta for its water supplies.
Newsom’s plan is a scaled-back version of a two-tunnel plan backed by former Gov. Jerry Brown and bitterly opposed by environmentalists and Delta-area interests. His administration is expected to restart the permitting process sometime next month.
“We can’t wait for an earthquake or another natural disaster to strike or endure years more of a devastating drought that cripples our economy before taking action,” Robbie Hunter, president of the building trades group, said in a release. “We have a plan that works, and the time to move forward with that plan is now.”
Spokesperson Kyle Griffith said the group is open to discussions about how big the tunnel should be. He said the group would support a capacity of 6,000 cubic feet per second, a middle-of-the-road number often discussed.
“We just want to make sure it’s large enough to make it sufficiently economically viable as well as protect reliability of water deliveries,” he said.