The plans by the state to build huge water tunnels in northern part of California have received a sharp rebuke from an unlikely quarter. According to officials from the federal environmental agency, the project could worsen pollution and cause massive damage of imperiled-fish species.
These comments by the EPA echoes concerns which have dogged proposals on how water supplies from Northern California were transported to Southern California and also to the Joaquin Valley.
They also doubt about the project’s ability to obtain the necessary clearance regarding environmental permits. Doubts have also been castes about the possibility of the water satisfying the demands of the agencies which will be responsible for underwriting part of the cost.
In a statement which was posted online, Jared Blumenfeld who is EPA’s regional administrator provided a long list of problems which the project would face and which have been there for the many years when the project was still at planning stages.
According to the proposal, a new intake is to be constructed at the point when the Sacramento river flows into the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta which without doubt is the main hub for the water used in many parts of the state.
The proposal suggests that the river be diverted into a thirty mile tunnel which runs beneath or under the delta to a pumping plant which already exists and which gets its supplies from the delta located on the interiors.
Proponents of the project have voiced their support for the water supply project saying that it will help in improving the conditions in the delta while also helping to ease pumping restrictions.
But the EPA is of a totally different view, as it things the water quality standards in the delta will be violated, therefore causing harm to local supply to the farms as well as to municipalities.
The agency questions whether the massive restoration of the habitat which will form part of the project will deliver benefits as they are projected and emphasize the need for adequate flow of clean water supply. The EPA says that the population of delta smelt, winter run, green sturgeon and salmon will be affected.
Although the project has already fallen behind schedule, state officials announced on Wednesday that they will be doing a revision of the environmental review, a clear sign that the commencement of the project could be delayed even further.
However, it was announced a year ago that the final proposal regarding this water supply project will be made in late 2014. But it will take months or even some more years for the state to consider and address the voluminous comments that were raised by the public.