Governor Jerry Brown claims that his $25 billion Sacramento Delta tunnel construction project will ship water to Los Angeles and bring 19,600 jobs per year over the next half century. However, critics claim that his plan is “based on a fictional scenario,” and some of his job creation numbers are exaggerations.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the governor’s proposal involves the creation of two large tunnels under the Sacramento-San Joaquin River designed to channel water to Los Angeles County, Central Valley, and other cities. A study of the Bay-Delta Conservation Project, as it has come to be called, was conducted by a UC Berkeley agricultural and resource economist, David Sunding. He forecasts that 15,500 jobs a year for the next decade will be produced by the project, and that 19,600 jobs a year over the next fifty years will be developed after the tunnels are in full operation.
“In the short, medium and long range, the Bay Delta Conservation would provide economic benefits to California,” claimes Nancy Vogel, spokeswoman for the Department of Water Resources. “The plan is essentially an insurance policy against species extinction and inadequate water supplies.”
Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, executive director of the group Restore the Delta, insists that the program is unsustainable and too costly. Moreover, she contends that it could be detrimental to fishing, boating, and farming. In light of the severe drought we are experiencing, the plan “ignores the risk that water won’t be available for the massive tunnels,” she asserts.
Jeffrey A. Michael, director of the Business Forecasting Center at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, says that the construction job numbers are within reason, but the job numbers given for after-tunnel construction are ridiculous.