Central Valley Business Times: Governor’s Delta tunnel plan doesn’t measure up, says engineer


Governor’s Delta tunnel plan doesn’t measure up, says engineer

WALNUT CREEK December 18, 2012 12:09pm


•  Proposes cheaper plan that could provide more water

•  “This is just common sense”


There’s a better way to send water to the lawns of Los Angeles and the almond trees of the San Joaquin Valley than the one being pushed by Gov. Jerry Brown, says an engineer who is familiar with the controversial plan.


Mr. Brown has thrown his influence behind a plan to dig massive twin tunnels around the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to siphon off fresh water from the Sacramento River before it enters the Delta and sent it to the State Water Project’s pumps near Tracy.


But that plan is costly and flawed says Robert Pyke of Walnut Creek, a consulting engineer who says he has a better, cheaper, idea.


(Download a copy of Mr. Pyke's plan by clicking on the link below.)


Mr. Pyke says let the Sacramento flow through the Delta has it has for thousands of years. To get fresh water, take it from the west side of the Delta near Sherman Island, east of the city of Pittsburgh, before it would flow into the eastern portion of San Francisco Bay, he says. This would restore to the maximum practical extent the natural flows of water through the Delta, he says.


Another key to his plan is new storage facilities that would be located adjacent to the existing Clifton Court Forebay including a new Brushy Creek reservoir and a further enlargement of the existing Los Vaqueros reservoir.


“Additional south-of-Delta storage would be constructed in order to store the surplus water that would be extracted in wet years, much of it likely as groundwater but also perhaps including new Westside surface storage,” Mr. Pyke’s report says.


He says his plan protects endangered fish and would be less expensive than the twin tunnels.


“Henry Justiniano, a civil engineer friend, when I explained the concept to him, said ‘this is just common sense,’” Mr. Pyke says in an email to CVBT.

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