It’s all about the Peripheral Canal, a massive, multi-billion dollar aqueduct that would bypass the Delta region altogether and tap into the Sacramento-San Joaquin River further upstream, essentially allowing corporate farmers and Southern California’s real estate tycoons to cut to the front of the Delta water line and have direct access to Northern California’s water. Any major levee repairs would squelch one of the main reasons—water safety—being used to justify the construction of the aqueduct, which would cost up to $40 billion and require the use of eminent domain to clear the path for its 50-mile run up north from pumping stations at the southern end of the Delta to the southern border of Sacramento.
The Peripheral Canal is more than just about cutting Delta farmers out of the game and taking their water. It is part of a bigger, more long-term strategy by a handful of farmers and urban water districts to lay down infrastructure that would enable the creation of a full-fledged "water market" that would allow them to acquire and sell Northern California’s water to the highest bidder, like any other commodity. Web Link
Quoted in this article:
United States Geological Service
California’s Department of Water Resources
2005 Public Citizen’s report
Environmental Working Group