Skip to main content

The CA Delta supplies water to 25 million Californians. The proponents of the Peripheral Tunnels have long cried that in a big earthquake, the levees will fail. That puts our water supply at risk. Never mind that a levee in the CA Delta has NEVER failed because of an earthquake. Somehow, they fail to mention that.  Last year, UCLA built a simulated levee in the middle of Sherman Island, set a really big shaker machine on it and simulated up to a 6.5 earthquake. And..... nothing happened.  It didn't collapse, it didn't liquefy, it just sat there and said, whatever!!

A whole lot of people, with a whole lot vested interest in shipping water to the Southern San Joaquin Valley, didn't like that outcome. So today they tested it again. The first test, (last August) did not have an adequate ground water table under it they said. So in todays test, the simulated levee has a moat around it filled with water. This was to simulate the saturated peat soil under a typical Delta levee.

We got out there about 10:30 this morning. It was big fun. Here is one of the first news accounts about it. And mrgoo got interviewed! Spoiler alert, the test levee didn't budge this time either.

View more videos at: http://nbcbayarea.com.

Where the hell is Sherman Island you may ask. We are one of the most important islands in the CA Delta. It helps protect the CA Water supply from salt water intrusion just from the basis of our location.  Sherman Island is the westernmost island in the primary zone of the Delta. State Highway 160 bisects it. Part of the state electrical grid sits on it and it also contains a huge natural gas patch. I can see the Antioch Bridge from my front yard. Once you go west from the Antioch bridge, it is a very short boat ride to the confluence of the San Joaquin River and the Sacramento River. Once you pass that, you are headed into the area known as the Carquinez Strait and then into San Francisco Bay.

For you SF Kossacks who attended the CA Maritime Academy meetup, that is located in the Carquinez Strait. If you leave the docks of the Academy and head west, you will find yourself in San Pablo Bay. Do you know where the salt water starts and the fresh water you drink ends? Actually, a better question is do YOU know where YOUR drinking water comes from? Some of you in the SF Bay area get your water from Hetch Hetchy, others - from the CA Delta.

So when you read and hear reports about the fragile, falling apart levees in the Delta used as justification to saddle the state with the tunnels, please remember this diary.

Update: Thank you for the rescue! Corrected diary, UCLA ran the test, not UC Berkeley. As mentioned by Isara in the comments, not everybody has heard of Jerry's announcement to build the Peripheral Canal II/aka The Tunnels. Here is a link: Gov. Jerry Brown fires first shot in new water war

For those of you who have problems playing video, here is the link to the story:

Shaking the Levees of the Sacramento Delta

Originally posted to mrsgoo on Wed Aug 15, 2012 at 07:48 PM PDT.

Also republished by Dream Menders and Community Spotlight.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  The peripheral tunnel folks will not quit (24+ / 0-)

    trying.  We just need to keep fighting them, over and over again.

    Great diary...love the rock & rolling and no shaking!

    Nothing astonishes men so much as common sense and plain dealing.Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1841

    by SallyCat on Wed Aug 15, 2012 at 07:58:38 PM PDT

  •  Cool video. (11+ / 0-)

    I've often wondered what will happen to the LA water supply after the big one hits down here.

    Water is brought to LA from the Owens Valley, Mono Lake and the Colorado River by means of the LA aqueduct. I always thought that the aqueduct was the weakest link, and every time we drove by it on Interstate 10 I have been struck by how fragile it appears.

    "I cannot live without books" -- Thomas Jefferson, 1815

    by Susan Grigsby on Wed Aug 15, 2012 at 10:33:26 PM PDT

    •  Glad you liked it. If there is a big enough quake, (11+ / 0-)

      I am sure there will be folks going without water for a time. The LA area is actually doing a pretty good job of reducing their reliance on Delta water. Off to le sack now! More CA-Water diaries will be coming. Another diarist, Dan Bacher also covers CA water issues.

      if a habitat is flooded, the improvement for target fishes increases by an infinite percentage...because a habitat suitability index that is even a tiny fraction of 1 is still infinitely higher than zero, which is the suitability of dry land to fishes.

      by mrsgoo on Wed Aug 15, 2012 at 10:45:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  What are the tunnels? (5+ / 0-)

    Could you please provide some more context?

    Thanks!

  •  Desalinization (7+ / 0-)

    Much of the middle east lives on water from desalinization plants.  Southern CA is also desert.  Time for them to stop stealing water and leave the Delta alone.

    •  $$$ (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      KenBee, mrsgoo, bronte17, old wobbly, Fogiv

      The Middle East literally has oil to burn, but desalination takes alot of energy and that makes the water produced from it expensive.  There is some desalination in California, but it's a minor source.  There is also the environmental issue of disposing the brine left over after it is removed from the source water.

      You have the power to change America. Yes We Can. Yes We Did. Yes We Will.

      by CA Pol Junkie on Thu Aug 16, 2012 at 10:42:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Delta (6+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        KenBee, mrsgoo, silence, JanL, bronte17, old wobbly

        Compare that to building enormous tunnels up river to take massive amounts of snow melt south for use that is unknown leaving the Delta with less water that is more salty, killing the fish and destroying the ecology that is already in trouble.  The coalition building the tunnels are the same people who ignored flow requirements for years because taking water is big money in the central valley for crops shipped overseas.

        •  the cost of water (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mrsgoo

          You are right in that the cost of water depends on the accounting, and whether or not you include the negative environmental effects of diversion.  A cost-benefit analysis was done recently of a Delta conveyance system and found that it wasn't remotely cost-effective, but anything is cost-effective if other people do the paying.

          You have the power to change America. Yes We Can. Yes We Did. Yes We Will.

          by CA Pol Junkie on Thu Aug 16, 2012 at 02:11:01 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Jerry Brown's Legacy (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bnasley, mrsgoo, LillithMc, old wobbly

    I am so furious at our "Democratic" governor.  He says his family has been involved in this issue for decades and he wants to "get sh*t done."  It's obviously all about Jerry, and science and the Delta be damned.   In the Owens Valley water war, the opponents dynamited the pumps.  Maybe a good idea.  

    •  True that Gov Pat Brown was a big mover behind (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mrsgoo

      the original water projects back in the 50's and 60's. He was lampooned in political cartoons showing him as an octopus, with big horn-rimmed glasses, each arm a pipe spouting water from numerous leaks.

      Time to resurrect that cartoon and retouch the face!

  •  i want one of those shaker contraption thingies (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mrsgoo

    Dear Noah, The flyer said THURSDAY!!!! Seriously, WTF?!?!? jerk. sincerely, unicorns

    by bnasley on Thu Aug 16, 2012 at 09:41:11 AM PDT

    •  heehee. mrgoo wanted to put a lawnchair on top and (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      side pocket, bnasley

      ride it!

      if a habitat is flooded, the improvement for target fishes increases by an infinite percentage...because a habitat suitability index that is even a tiny fraction of 1 is still infinitely higher than zero, which is the suitability of dry land to fishes.

      by mrsgoo on Thu Aug 16, 2012 at 11:41:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  better than the bed you put quarters in at motels (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mrsgoo

        Dear Noah, The flyer said THURSDAY!!!! Seriously, WTF?!?!? jerk. sincerely, unicorns

        by bnasley on Thu Aug 16, 2012 at 08:03:49 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  LOL! I made Dr. Robert Pyke blush when I said (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          bnasley

          I haven't felt the earth move that much since our honeymoon.

          if a habitat is flooded, the improvement for target fishes increases by an infinite percentage...because a habitat suitability index that is even a tiny fraction of 1 is still infinitely higher than zero, which is the suitability of dry land to fishes.

          by mrsgoo on Thu Aug 16, 2012 at 09:36:43 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks so much for this (6+ / 0-)

    As a homeowner in Isleton (with buddies on Sherman Island) I'm equally concerned about the canal proposal and the attempt to rip out all our trees from the levees.  Any attention we can get is a plus, and I'm glad you were on-site to get a first hand account of the test.

    •  Hi Neighbor! Yes we need all the attention we can (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Floja Roja, LillithMc, KenBee, JanL, old wobbly

      get. Once the Delta is destroyed, it is gone. Thank you for stopping in!

      if a habitat is flooded, the improvement for target fishes increases by an infinite percentage...because a habitat suitability index that is even a tiny fraction of 1 is still infinitely higher than zero, which is the suitability of dry land to fishes.

      by mrsgoo on Thu Aug 16, 2012 at 10:05:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Not to be a fly in the ointment (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mrsgoo

    But why is everyone so gung ho to make this happen? I have several concerns here, and Geology is the least of them.

    Shipping more water down to LA seems like a bad idea; it always has. The farmers down there are fighting over water rights already, and much of the land is becoming unusable for farming due to salinity and selium buildup. More water won't fix that, and Hetch-Hetchy water is the next big fight, but we need that for the SF Bay Area. This whole thing seems unsustainable, and adding a new source of water for LA isn't going to convince them to become sustainable.

    As for the Geology, a simulated 6.5 EQ is not equal to the estimated maximum credible EQ for the region. And I seriously doubt that their simulation managed to simulate the P and S waves that a real EQ generates. Those types of waves, mostly the S waves, when close the the surface, can cause damage greater that the EQ magnitude would ordinarily generate as exemplified in the Northridge quake in 1994 (Yes, I have a degree in Geology and studied EQs).

    So, long term, how do you expect this tunnel to work out? I am curious.

    •  The only people gung ho to make this happen (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      airshipjones, JanL, old wobbly

      are the state water contractors and especially Kern County/Westlands. It is a pure water grab. Their argument to protect the fish is to divert 15,000 CFS out of the Sacramento and run it in the tunnels down to the pumps in Tracy.

      One of their arguments for the tunnels instead of using the levees we already have is that the levees are derelict and crumbling and that earthquakes will just flat out destroy them. Of course, if we have a big enough earthquake, levees could fail. The damn tunnels would fail too I would imagine.

      There is a valid argument to be made that fish kills at the pumps would lessen if there was a tunnel. The problem is that it makes no economic sense whatsoever unless they are full bore pumping all the time. They are already overpumping.

      Watch how fiercely they are fighting a cost benefit analysis. It tells you everything you need to know.

      if a habitat is flooded, the improvement for target fishes increases by an infinite percentage...because a habitat suitability index that is even a tiny fraction of 1 is still infinitely higher than zero, which is the suitability of dry land to fishes.

      by mrsgoo on Thu Aug 16, 2012 at 11:40:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Last week on the radio news (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mrsgoo, airshipjones, JanL

      a woman was saying that people in the bay area could expect to pay 20 percent more for their water than otherwise, direcly applied to those living in areas (like south bay area, San Jose ) who already use a certain amount of delta water.

      Since costs are going up steeply already, it is getting more expensive to keep a home garden, probably prohibitive to grow home produce.

      Any home gardeners or community gardeners in the bay area should be paying a lot of attention to this!!

      •  Urban ratepayers will be carrying the freight on (0+ / 0-)

        this. State taxpayers will be footing the bill for the mitigation! This will make the original Peripheral Canal fight look like nothing.

        if a habitat is flooded, the improvement for target fishes increases by an infinite percentage...because a habitat suitability index that is even a tiny fraction of 1 is still infinitely higher than zero, which is the suitability of dry land to fishes.

        by mrsgoo on Thu Aug 16, 2012 at 11:44:59 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Thirty years ago (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mrsgoo, side pocket

    when the original Peripheral Canal was being debated, my boss at the time was friends with a senior officer in the Corps of Engineers. This officer told him that regardless of what the state decided, the COE would never allow the canal to be built because it would silt up the shipping channel in the Sacramento river. (The COE has ultimate authority over "Navigable waterways").

    I imaging there are similar concerns with these stupid tunnels.

  •  Fish! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mrsgoo

    Let's face it, water exports aren't going to stop. So the most environmentally sound course of action is to ensure that those exports can be done in a way that does the least damage to Delta wildlife.

    In my opinion, the biggest reason to build the canal is to ensure the future of California's fisheries. Changing the entire delta to run north to south instead of east to west messes with the fish - and then they end their journey sucked into pumps, to die.

    Diverting water before the delta means restoring a natural flow pattern, and ending the fish massacres, without sacrificing the rest of the state's economic interests. It seems win-win to me.

    Which is why it boggles my mind that parochial interests seem set on making this a north v. south issue, as if the north has anything to gain from destroying the farming communities of the central valley or the urban centers of Southern California.

    Those who ignore the future are condemned to repeat it.

    by enigmamf on Thu Aug 16, 2012 at 04:12:56 PM PDT

    •  In the interest of disclosure, mrgoo is helping me (0+ / 0-)

      reply to this as he is slightly water wonkier than I am.
      Let's start with a few undisputed facts.

      4% of the water diverted south from the Delta crosses the Grapevine.

      80% of ALL developed water in the state of CA goes to agriculture.

      Contrary to what some might have been led to believe,  this is not and never was north -vs- south, fish -vs-  farming, saving the Delta, or restoring a fishery.
      It's not even about a 3" bait fish.
      It's all about money.

      All of the arguments that begin or end with increasing the export of water from the Delta cannot possibly be based on environmental concern, rather they are economic. If the real concern is "not sucking fish into the pumps", then adequate fish screens that were promised 20+ years ago would have been installed by now.
      My personal opinion is that if installed, they would have taken away one more argument for building a conveyance. Why are we to believe the fish screens proposed for the new conveyance would be any more effective than the ones currently installed in the South Delta?

      The one point you make that has an element of truth is the correction of the flows through the Delta. Here's the problem, so you build this new conveyance, you divert anywhere from 9K to 15K CFS independently around the Delta, you have now replicated the conditions created on the San Joaquin River when Friant Dam was completed. Repeating the mistakes of the past and expecting a different result in the future is the definition of insanity.

      How anyone can make a logical argument that an increase in exports from the Delta will somehow save it makes no sense. What a conveyance if built will do is bring into focus the damage already being done by the diversions of Friant Dam and Hetch Hetchy. All the above is a nifty and neato argument and can go on forever and get you right back where you started.

      The root of this problem is money and greed.
      Jerry Brown is telling taxpayers and ratepayers of the state to subsize a game that picks winners and losers in the agricultural industry and pits one farmer against another. All without a vote of the people.

      If agriculture stands to benefit from 80% of the product of a conveyance, should they not be expected to pay 80% of total cost involved? Not just the cost of building the conveyance but the cost of the mitigation that will be required in the Delta as a result of building it. Not to mention the cost of the debt service on the bonds if they are issued. Keep in mind water contractors still have not finished paying for the original water project.

      As I said, this is not North -vs- South, it never was.
      That's a smoke screen promoted by proponents of building this pipe dream. The real beneficiaries are a select few agricultural interests in the Central Valley led by a billionaire absentee landowner living in Hollywood growing pomegranates and almonds mostly for export.

      Just before we decide to sacrifice the Delta on the altar of corporate greed, we need to ask ourselves this.
      How bad do you need cheap almonds and PomFresh ?

       

      if a habitat is flooded, the improvement for target fishes increases by an infinite percentage...because a habitat suitability index that is even a tiny fraction of 1 is still infinitely higher than zero, which is the suitability of dry land to fishes.

      by mrsgoo on Thu Aug 16, 2012 at 06:37:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Good points (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mrsgoo

        If agriculture had to pay for water projects that yield to them not only crops but more valuable water, they may have other plans.

        •  Yes. Sales and transfers of water out of the (0+ / 0-)

          county of origin should be illegal. The premise of the public trust is reasonable and beneficial use. If you do not use the water to grow crops, you should not be selling it. Today, the water is more valuable than the crop. Water is the crop. That is the problem!

          if a habitat is flooded, the improvement for target fishes increases by an infinite percentage...because a habitat suitability index that is even a tiny fraction of 1 is still infinitely higher than zero, which is the suitability of dry land to fishes.

          by mrsgoo on Fri Aug 17, 2012 at 08:09:58 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Water. What is it good for? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mrsgoo

    EVERYTHING!

    ❧To thine ownself be true

    by Agathena on Thu Aug 16, 2012 at 05:37:44 PM PDT

    •  Yep! And fish! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Agathena

      if a habitat is flooded, the improvement for target fishes increases by an infinite percentage...because a habitat suitability index that is even a tiny fraction of 1 is still infinitely higher than zero, which is the suitability of dry land to fishes.

      by mrsgoo on Thu Aug 16, 2012 at 06:42:29 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site