Save Fragile Estuaries from Overdevelopment

San Francisco Bay

Target: Jerry Brown, Governor of California

Goal: Call on the governor to abandon the destructive, costly and unnecessary Bay Delta Conservation Plan which would drain the San Francisco Bay Delta to provide water for arid regions of the state

The state of California has stared down its water crisis for decades. Recent record-breaking drought has certainly made the situation worse, but the real culprit isn’t lack of rainfall. Careless urban development and agriculture, sprawling into desert areas that lack sufficient water supplies, have inspired one of the world’s most expansive–and expensive–engineering systems of dams, aqueducts and pumps. Rather than confront the painful reality that such development can never be sustainable, a plan is in the works to further tax area watersheds in an effort to meet the ever-rising demand.

Despite its name, the Bay Delta Conservation Plan has been widely opposed by environmentalists and their allies. California Governor Jerry Brown has helped push through plans to construct two massive tunnels that would drain water from the San Francisco Bay Delta estuary and transport it to arid communities. The State Water Contractors website describes the plan as “the path towards a secure water supply for California and a healthy Delta ecosystem,” but groups including Food and Water Watch, the Environmental Water Caucus and the Winneman Wintu tribe aren’t convinced.

Barbara Barrigan-Parilla, executive director of Restore the Delta, has spoken out against the project stating that “Draining fresh water from the Delta will only doom sustainable farming and decimate salmon and other fisheries.” Even before the addition of the two proposed tunnels, California’s landscape has been transformed by the dozens of dams and hundreds of miles of canals and aqueducts intended to support cities, like Los Angeles, which lack sustainable water supplies.

The great Colorado River no longer reaches the sea because of engineering projects like these. Expanding infrastructure and ignoring environmental limitations sets Californians up for an ever-more-devastating awakening. The Bay Delta Conservation Plan can’t produce more water; it can only move it from one place to another, inefficiently and at tremendous cost to the environment. Call on Governor Brown to save the Delta and abandon this destructive scheme to drain its estuaries.


Dear Governor Brown,

The Bay Delta Conservation Plan has little to do with conservation at all, despite its appealing name. Fragile estuary ecosystems would be devastated by this planned development. Salmon would suffer, as would the area’s sustainable family farms. Native tribes, environmental groups and their allies have spoken out against the project. You would be wise to listen.

Continuing to tax watersheds to feed your state’s runaway urban, industrial and agricultural development is a short-term fix with a price tag estimated at $25 billion. Without sincere efforts to reduce water consumption, no amount of engineering wizardry can meet the need. Without ending expansion into desert areas, there will always be an unmet demand for water.

I call on you to abandon plans to drain fresh water from the San Francisco Bay Delta. Work with cities, counties and industrial food production companies to increase efficiency and reduce consumption. This is the only real solution to California’s water crisis. And the longer this reality is ignored, the more devastating the consequences will be for all Californians.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: United States Geological Survey via Wikimedia Commons

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  1. Mary Finelli says:

    If California is serious about conserving water it should get rid of its biggest water consumer: animal agriculture.

    Save water -and lives, quite possibly including your own- go vegan!

  2. Jane Morrow says:

    Another example of too many people in the world raping the planet of its resources at the cost of every other living thing. Nature ultimately has a way of dealing with species over-population – the human race’s time is coming, hopefully while there’s still something left to save.

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