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California groups want state to study smaller tunnel

11:41 AM, Jan 26, 2013   |    comments
Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta
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FRESNO, CA (AP) - A half-dozen water agencies have cast their lot with environmental groups in calling on California to study a scaled-down alternative to the $14 billion twin delta tunnels endorsed by Gov. Jerry Brown.

Proponents say a single, smaller tunnel coupled with local water supply development such as water recycling and desalination could result in more water. They say it also would be better for the environment and cost less - with construction estimated at $5 billion to $7 billion.

The new proposal also includes strengthening delta levees, investing in water storage, and 40,000 acres of habitat restoration. Proponents want the state to consider it as a stand-alone alternative during the ongoing environmental review process.

Agricultural groups say a scaled-down conveyance project would be devastating to farmers in the Central Valley.

The Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta is the hub of the state's water delivery system. The estuary's ailing health has led to regulations that curtail delta pumping.

The Associated Press

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