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Twin Tunnel Peripheral Canal is bad for San Joaquin County

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Posted: Tuesday, July 31, 2012 12:00 am

A recent conversation with some neighbors brought up the question, "Why should Morada care about a peripheral canal one way or another?"

The simple answer? Our property is worthless and we die without water, and everyone who lives in San Joaquin County depends on the aquifer we draw from — directly or indirectly. The "Twin Tunnel" Peripheral Canal would be the coup de grace for an already severely depleted groundwater basin. The aquifer we sit atop is critically overdrafted (250,000 acre-feet per year) and forms a hole or cone of depression with a depth of 60 to 80 feet below sea level.

Given increasing growth, increased pumping, little or no natural recharge and no new surface water supplies, the hole gets deeper, forming a natural vacuum. Since nature abhors a vacuum, she rushes to fill the void and invites or pulls sea water from the Bay under our Delta in an easterly direction at a speed of about 200 feet per year, with an exponential effect on the speed of this chloride migration.

Water levels are declining and chloride concentrations are increasing in water from wells in our Eastern San Joaquin Ground-Water Sub-basin caused by pumping in excess of recharge and the resulting saline intrusion. Several wells in Stockton have been abandoned due to saline contamination. Water west of Lower Sacramento Road is no longer potable. Oak Grove Regional Park abandoned its wells and connected to the city water grid.

Even with its new Delta Water Supply Project Phase I completion, the city continues to pump groundwater. Of course, new surface water is the answer to this problem, but there isn't any.

The Twin Tunnel Peripheral Canal threatens to divert at least 9,000 cfs (cubic feet per second) for transport to Southern California. This diversion would reduce the natural flush of the Delta by million of acre-feet of Sacramento River water, which also works as a barrier, exerting pressure against the incoming tide from the Bay. If this natural flush and barrier by our river system is eliminated, we must expect increased migration and intrusion of brackish sea water into our ever diminishing groundwater basin, irreversibly ruining it forever.

Why isn't this effect being discussed?

William Van Amber Fields


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