Re “Finally, Delta tunnel plan’s flaws are questioned” (Our View, Sept. 6): The Modesto Bee errs in assuming that additional federal and state water project capacity to pump water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta will be used to the detriment of fish, wildlife and other water users.
The projects have long had more capacity to pump from the south Delta than is used. The point of building new intakes in the north Delta is not to increase pumping capacity in the Delta, but to provide the flexibility to pump in the north or south, wherever it will do the least harm to threatened fish species and protect Delta water quality. Northern intakes could be effectively screened for fish, unlike the south Delta pumps that sit on dead-end channels. New intakes would allow water projects to pump water after winter storms, when river flows are high and the presence of threatened fish in the south Delta would otherwise curtail pumping.
With the right infrastructure, we can capture water when abundant to help us through dry times. That’s a common-sense approach for all of California, not a zero-sum game of north versus south.
Mark W. Cowin, Director, California Department of Water Resources, Sacramento