FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — California water and wildlife officials are seizing upon the deaths of a rare fish in the water pumps that carry water to California's cities and farms to renew calls for replacing the current pumping system with $14 billion twin tunnels.
Officials said Tuesday that the deaths of too many delta smelt in months already has led to a series of pumping restrictions in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. The pumps ferry water to 25 million people and three million acres of farmland.
Officials said those restrictions could be averted if the new tunnels are built. Gov. Jerry Brown supports the project.
The fish kill may have resulted from early December storms that flushed muddy water down the Sacramento River. That flush triggered the migration of smelt, which got pulled south and into the killing pumps.
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