Report from Professor Sunding supports delta tunnel plan

February 21, 2018
Professor David Sunding. Photo by Jim Block

Photo by Jim Block.

A study by Professor David Sunding commissioned by the California Department of Water Resources and published last week says that Governor Brown’s delta tunnels plan would pay off for both farmers and cities.

Officially known as California WaterFix (formerly the Bay Delta Conservation Plan), the plan proposed by Governor Brown and the Department of Water Resources would build two large tunnels to carry fresh water from the Sacramento River under the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to other parts of the state.

The Sacramento Bee reported February 13 that, “After key San Joaquin Valley agricultural districts announced last year they couldn’t afford the project, Brown’s administration announced last week that officials were moving forward on a phased-in approach to the tunnels, starting with building a single pipe under the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta in the coming years.”

Sunding’s cost-benefit analysis on this first stage concludes that benefits outweigh the costs under every scenario he analyzed.

Sunding is the Thomas J. Graff Chair in Environmental and Resource Economics at UC Berkeley. He has served as chair of the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics since 2013.