There’s a lie going around Sacramento, and much of the state, that we can solve California’s water problems by building two hugely expensive, environmentally disastrous tunnels beneath the Sacramento-San Joaquin Bay Delta.

So instead of calling the Delta tunnels project a “California WaterFix” like the governor, bureaucrats and water agencies are doing, let’s call it what it really is: a water grab of epic proportion.

Priced at $16.3 billion, the outrageous cost alone should be enough to kill this project, which would reroute water 35 miles to the Delta pumping stations through 40-foot-wide tunnels buried 150 feet underground, before sending it further south. The whole point is to divert more water from the Sacramento River to the Central Valley and Southern California, most of it to be used for agriculture.

Water agencies were supposed to pay for this boondoggle, but so far they’ve balked, putting up just 40% of the costs. It’s likely the state will later raise taxes to pay for the tunnels and use voter-approved Water Bond money, from Proposition 1, to pay for habitat restoration, despite many promises to the contrary. highlights the many thriving communities that rely on California’s Delta.

Now, in an effort to appease an angered public, Governor Brown and the Department of Water Resources say they’re fine building just one tunnel at a cost of $10.7 billion. But it’s not enough to cut the Delta tunnels project in half. As your Lieutenant Governor, I’ll do everything in my power to see this costly and ecologically disastrous project killed. Period.

For decades, we’ve been sacrificing the health of our Delta ecosystem in the interest of sending ever more water south. The cost of the tunnels plan to the Delta’s fragile ecology can’t be underestimated. Threatened chinook salmon, endangered smelt and other at-risk fish and wildlife are barely hanging on as freshwater gets furiously depleted and more saltwater enters the Delta. It’s our responsibility to ensure that these species have a fair shot at survival – something that won’t happen if the tunnels get built. The health of the San Francisco Bay Delta ecosystem is literally at stake with this project.

Delta landowners and family farms are deeply against the tunnels plan, as are many of the water agencies that are being asked to pay for it though they don’t stand to gain. The fact is, water costs for farmers who rely on the Delta could quadruple or more if the tunnels get built.  

As your Lieutenant Governor, I will be in a unique position, on the Agriculture-Water Transition Task Force and as a member of the State Lands Commission, to weigh in on giant projects like this one. And believe me, under my leadership the Delta tunnels will never see the light of day. Stand with me, landowners, environmentalists and local governments in opposing this costly and irresponsible plan!

California is not alone in facing a water crisis. Across the globe, corporations and big agricultural interests are busy privatizing, monopolizing and harvesting this vital, dwindling resource that every human needs to survive. And with the impacts from climate change sure to worsen in coming years, conflicts over water scarcity will only grow. That is why it’s time to put a stop to the water grabs right here, right now. Yes, California needs solutions to our chronic water shortage. But the Delta tunnels aren’t a “WaterFix” at all. They’ll only magnify the financial and environmental problems we’re already facing.

Please join me: