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Single Delta tunnel means disaster for SJV farmers

Single Delta tunnel means disaster for SJV farmers

A disaster may await San Joaquin Valley farmers if a plan featuring a single tunnel to convey water through the Delta becomes a reality.

Dos Palos farmer Shawn Coburn told Delta Stewardship Council members that a disaster awaits him and other San Joaquin Valley farmers if a plan featuring a single tunnel to convey water through the Delta becomes a reality.

Coburn pointed out that the single tunnel would cut water deliveries to south-of-the-Delta water users by a third. Farmers within the federal Central Valley Project (CVP) service area, where Coburn farms, would receive about 485,000 acre-feet of water instead of the 1.8 million acre-feet needed to grow their crops.

"We are looking at the potential of 750,000 acres going unplanted," he said.

Coburn distributed a fact sheet developed by the California Farm Water Coalition that revealed that six out of every 10 acres farmed with CVP water would be in jeopardy. The fact sheet is available at www.farmwater.org/BDCP-NRDC_alt.pdf.

The Dos Palos farmer grows almonds on the valley's Westside and when water is available, he also grows cannery tomatoes. In recent years when water deliveries have been reduced, he has been forced to forego the tomato acreage in order to divert all his water to almond orchards.  

Coburn stressed that the current twin-tunnel being considered by BDCP provides a reliable water supply that is needed by farmers, families and businesses. Without such a supply, the production of fresh fruits and vegetables that San Joaquin Valley farmers are known for would be in jeopardy.

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