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California North vs. South War Heats up over Water Tunnels

California North vs. South War Heats up over Water Tunnels

California Senate President pro tem Darrell Steinberg no longer supports a water bond that will be on the ballot in November, which he negotiated with then Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2009, because it provides for water to be tunneled to Southern California.

According to NBC4 Southern California, Steinberg now believes that the bond which underwrites the construction of conveyance tunnels around the San Joaquin Delta and would enable water to be channeled to Los Angeles County, would become a “north-south water fight” and would be defeated. Instead, Steinberg claims that we need to find a bond that invests in water storage, which the “Republicans and agricultural folks like, and invests in clean water quality.” The senate leader said, “Then we can get a rather large water bond approved.”

Steinberg says that, if the bond is perceived to be pro-tunnel, it will “stoke the north-south war.” Notably, Los Angeles County represents one-quarter of all the voters in California.

However, Northern California voters are influenced by pro-environmental and conservancy groups. They have voiced their opposition to building more tunnels around the Delta, insisting that it will disrupt important ecosystems in the Delta region. According to Friends of The River, the 45-mile-long Delta tunnels, along with their intakes, forebays, disposal sites, and additional facilities, will take up some 5,700 acres of farmland and wildlife habitat.

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