Villapudua knocks Newsom for pressing forward on Delta tunnel amid deficit

While the Delta tunnel has been in the works for decades, Villapudua argues that this is not the time to move forward with it since the state faces a fiscal crisis.

With California facing down a $37.9 billion deficit as part of the latest spending plan proposed by Gov. Gavin Newsom, the Delta tunnel proposal is taking heat from one Democratic Assemblyman. 

Asm. Carlos Villapudua (D–Stockton) released a statement  on Wednesday opposing Newsom’s inclusion of the Delta tunnel in his spending plan. 


The backstory: The long-planned Delta tunnel would pipe water from the Sacramento River, bypassing the Delta, and redirect water into Bethany Reservoir. 

  • That water would then feed into an aqueduct headed south. 
  • Last month the California Department of Water Resources released its final report on the Delta tunnel – officially known as the Delta Conveyance Project – finding that it would significantly impact the Delta’s endangered fish species, farmland and tribal cultural resources. 
  • The cost of the tunnel could range up to $16 billion, according to a 2020 estimate. 

What they’re saying: “Prioritizing the environmentally dangerous and wildly expensive Delta Conveyance Project during difficult fiscal times is nothing short of baffling,” Villapudua said. “This water grab would inappropriately divert our already-strained fiscal resources. We need to remain focused on public safety, housing and homelessness, education, transportation infrastructure and healthcare.”

  • Villapudua added that the state’s water sustainability efforts would also be disrupted if the state does not prioritize more thoughtful and appropriate projects, such as groundwater recharge, recycling plants, levee maintenance and storage.” 
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