Newsom Faces Backlash: $20 Billion Tunnel Sparks Californian Outrage

In a move that has caused an outcry from both ends of the political divide, California Governor Gavin Newsom is pressing forward with ambitious plans to build a giant tunnel to catch rainwater.

Tunnel Vision

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Nuttapong punna

For decades, California authorities have been trying to create a water tunnel system like the one Newsom is currently pushing for – also titled the Delta Conveyance Project.

Delta Dreams

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Always Wanderlust

The tunnel, which would span around 45 miles in length and 36 feet in width, is the state’s answer to climate change and future water supply worries. Put simply, the tunnel would collect rainwater from the Sacramento River and then send it south for storage.

Flowing Forward

Image Credit: Shutterstock / BIRYUKOVA EKATERINA

Water has been extracted directly from the Sacramento–San Joaquin River Delta estuary in Northern California and transported south to supply 30 million Californians and irrigate 6 million acres of farmland via the State Water Project for decades.

Liquid Lifeline

Image Credit: Shutterstock / tsyhun

However, new research by state agencies has predicted that climate change and environmental regulations will result in a reduced water supply – hence the creation of the Delta Conveyance Project.

Priced to Flow

Image Credit: Shutterstock / vitma

While the project sounds like a viable method to combat the effects of climate change and protect Californians’ access to water, there’s one thing that is causing outcry amongst the public – the price.

Costly Currents

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Prathankarnpap

A new analysis conducted by the Berkeley Research Group has put the cost for the tunnel at $20 billion – $5 billion more than previously thought.

Inflationary Budget Woes

Image Credit: Shutterstock / SewCreamStudio

These price increases are primarily due to inflationary pressures following the pandemic, which have pushed costs for materials and labor sky-high.

Funding California’s Water Future

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Yta23

The money for this project will come from 29 local water agencies, which means the customers will ultimately pay for it.

Is the Tunnel Worth It?

Image Credit: Shutterstock / ESB Professional

Supporters say the tunnel will bring $38 billion in benefits, mostly by providing a more reliable water supply that’s protected from earthquakes. In the words of David Sunding, a professor from UC Berkeley who led the analysis, “The benefits clearly justify the costs.”

Water Woes

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Tero Vesalainen

Despite these projections, there are many vocal opponents to the tunnel.

Delta Defenders

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Lomb

Environmental groups are worried it will harm the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta’s ecosystem, which is home to endangered species of salmon.

Protecting Northern California

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Edgar G Biehle

They’re also worried that the construction of the tunnel will damage farmlands, lower water quality in the Delta, and create noise and air pollution.

The Tunnel Tug-of-War

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Dragon Images

To address these concerns, the state has set aside $200 million for local projects in areas affected by the construction.

The Central Valley’s Stand

Image Credit: Shutterstock / aerogondo2

However, the project is still a hot topic – especially in the Central Valley – where many see it as Southern California trying to take their water. One lawmaker, Representative Josh Harder, stated, “This new analysis acknowledges what we’ve known all along: the Delta Tunnel is meant to benefit Beverly Hills and leave Delta communities out to dry.”

Harder’s Hardline

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Salivanchuk Semen

Harder promised to fight the tunnel, stating, “I’m sick and tired of politicians in Sacramento ignoring our Valley voices, and I will do everything in my power to stop them from stealing our water.”

The Bigger Picture

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Juice Flair

The tunnel is part of the State Water Project, which supplies water to 27 million people and irrigates 750,000 acres of farmland.

The Need for New Solutions

Image Credit: Shutterstock / JoeyPhoto

Climate change threatens this water supply, with recent droughts causing record-low water levels and power plant shutdowns.

Drought Dramas

Image Credit: Shutterstock / palidachan

In the last 15 years, California has suffered two droughts – one from 2011 to 2017 and another between 2020 and 2022.

Future Forecast

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Ground Picture

According to a 2023 policy brief from the Public Policy Institute of California, by 2040, average annual water supplies could decrease by 20 percent. In a worst-case scenario, this could result in the loss of up to 50,000 jobs and the fallowing of nearly 900,000 acres of farmland.

Water Worries in 2070 and Beyond

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Pickadook

State officials also predict that by 2070, water deliveries will drop by 22% due to climate change. The new analysis by the state predicts that the Delta Conveyance Project could increase water delivered by around 17%, and while it’s not enough to cover the loss, it’s a much more manageable figure.

23 Steep Taxes Adding to California Residents’ Burden

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Alex Millauer

California: a place of sunshine, innovation, and, unfortunately, some of the nation’s highest taxes. From LA’s beaches to Silicon Valley’s tech hubs, residents grapple with a maze of state taxes. Here’s a glance at 23 taxes that might surprise both Californians and outsiders. 23 Steep Taxes Adding to California Residents’ Burden

Cash in on Nostalgia: 21 Toys Now Worth a Fortune

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Kostikova Natalia

Time to dust off the boxes and find that once-cherished toy from your childhood. For collectors and enthusiasts, they items have become valued objects and they can be worth big bucks – are there any of these in your attic? Cash in on Nostalgia: 21 Toys Now Worth a Fortune

Millennials Don’t Buy These 19 Products Anymore

Image Credit: Shutterstock / mariakray

Millennials are changing consumer habits, quietly replacing once-staple products and traditions. Often criticized for their disruptive preferences, this generation is reshaping the marketplace with digital expertise, ethical buying, and a taste for the unconventional. Millennials Don’t Buy These 19 Products Anymore

10 Reasons Firearms Are Essential to America’s Fabric

Image Credit: Shutterstock / rblfmr

Americans’ strong attachment to guns is influenced by constitutional rights, historical context, and cultural traditions. This article explores the cultural perspective driving their unwavering support for gun ownership, revealing the key factors shaping this enduring aspect of American life. 10 Reasons Firearms Are Essential to America’s Fabric

California’s 16 New Laws Raise Red Flags for Prospective Residents

Image Credit: Shutterstock / – Yuri A

California, celebrated for its beaches, tech prowess, and diversity, is now gaining attention for its recent legislation, prompting some residents to reconsider their residency. Explore the new laws of 2024 and the controversies and migration they’re stirring. California’s 16 New Laws Raise Red Flags for Prospective Residents

The post Newsom Faces Backlash: $20 Billion Tunnel Sparks Californian Outrage first appeared on Thrift My Life.

Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Matt Gush.

The content of this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute or replace professional financial advice.