Mayor, city manager oppose giant tunnels to divert water

Published: Wednesday, Jul. 17, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 2B
Last Modified: Wednesday, Jul. 17, 2013 - 6:25 am

Mayor Kevin Johnson and City Manager John Shirey both expressed their opposition Tuesday to Gov. Jerry Brown's proposal to build giant tunnels that would divert water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to farms and cities in Central and Southern California.

Speaking at a groundbreaking event for a new water treatment plant north of downtown Sacramento, the mayor said he expressed his opposition directly to Brown during a recent meeting with the governor and mayors of the state's big cities. Johnson expressed concerns over the tunnels' impact on the region's water supply and habitat.

"For us, we want to be good stewards," the mayor said. "I'm going to speak out any chance I get."

Shirey said the plan is moving "without any collaboration with the city of Sacramento."

Shirey was one of the driving forces behind the city's progress on updating its water intake and treatment system.

Crews have begin construction of a $170 million rehabilitation project at the Sacramento River Water Treatment Plant north of the downtown railyard.

The project is part of a broader $290 million investment in the city's water infrastructure being funded by increases in water and sewer rates approved by the City Council.

The water treatment plant being upgraded was built in 1923.

"This facility has withstood the process of time," said Councilman Darrell Fong.

Call The Bee's Ryan Lillis, (916) 321-1085. Read his City Beat blog at sacbee.com/citybeat. Follow him on Twitter @ryan_lillis.

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