Sierra Club California Files Lawsuit Against Delta Tunnel


January 22, 2024

Contact: Michael Blenner,


Sierra Club California Files Lawsuit Against Delta Tunnel


Sacramento, CA - Friday, Sierra Club California filed a lawsuit against the Delta Conveyance project (Delta tunnel), joined in the case by Friends of the River, California Water Impact Network, Planning and Conservation League, AquAlliance, Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations, Institute for Fisheries Resources, and California Sportfishing Protection Alliance. Center for Biological Diversity is co-counsel in the case.

The complaint alleges that the Final Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the Delta Tunnel is deficient. The Department of Water Resources certified the Final EIR for the project in December.

The Delta tunnel is a $16 billion project proposal to build a tunnel that would divert freshwater flows from the Sacramento River and send the deliveries to water districts south of the Delta. This environmentally destructive project would further devastate underserved communities in the Delta, Tribes throughout Northern California, and local ecosystems. This comes at a time when salmon fishing has been put on hold and the endangered Delta Smelt has not been found in Bay Delta surveys for six consecutive years. 

Statement from Bob Wright, Counsel for Sierra Club California in the case:

“The Delta tunnel will take enormous freshwater flows away from the already impaired Delta for export. DWR has not analyzed the resulting reduction of surface water in the Delta in the EIR, because they’re trying to evade admitting the truth that the project will have irreversible adverse  impacts on Delta surface water including worsening harmful algal blooms detrimental to the health of Delta residents and users, and exacerbating the extinction crisis for endangered and threatened fish species.

DWR is also deceiving the ratepayers who would have to foot the bill for billions of dollars to construct the massive project. DWR gave final approval to the project in December but will not issue a cost-benefit study on whether the project makes any financial sense to ratepayers and the public until sometime in the coming spring or later. No thinking person would buy a house without knowing how much it would cost. But DWR is trying to enrich the contractors who would build the project at the expense of the ratepayers who would pay for the project while keeping the public in the dark. We raised all of these and other issues in the complaint filed today.”



Sierra Club California is the legislative and regulatory arm of Sierra Club’s 13 local chapters in California, representing half a million members and supporters.