In 1982, then-Governor Jerry Brown proposed a canal to divert Northern California water around the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and bring it to Southern California—irrigating the nation’s bread-basket along the way. Voters turned it down, but Brown’s back again, backed by the Obama Administration with a new plan worth 24 billion dollars. Even some Democrats think it’s a bad idea, and there’s no guarantee it would work even if it could be paid for.
But with US Interior Secretary Ken Salazar at his side, Governor Brown today proposed a new version of the old idea. For 24 billion dollars, massive tunnels would take water from Northern California, pump it under the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, then use it to irrigate big farms in the Central Valley on its way to residential customers in Los Angeles and San Diego. Brown called it, “another test of whether we can govern ourselves…”