Gov. Jerry Brown pitches water tunnel project to farmers

  • Gov. Jerry Brown tours the Colusa Farm Show Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2013 in Colusa, Calif. Brown wades into potentially hostile territory to pitch his $14 billion plan to remake the state's water-delivery system by building massive tunnels below the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Farmers in the delta region and upriver from where the tunnels will be located are concerned about their water supply if the governor's push is successful. He says the tunnels are needed to ensure that water deliveries continue to Southern California cities and Central Valley farmers if the delta is hit by a natural disaster, such as an earthquake or sea level increases. (AP Photo/Appeal-Democrat, Chris Kaufman)

COLUSA — Gov. Jerry Brown waded into potentially hostile territory Wednesday as he pitched his $14 billion plan to reshape California's water-delivery system by building massive tunnels below the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

He attended one of the largest agricultural shows on the West Coast, where he addressed hundreds of farmers, some of whom later said they remain wary of the latest proposal to address the state's water problems.

The Democratic governor acknowledged that many people in the region, about an hour's drive north of the state capital, have a different political philosophy than he does, noting that he has never won Colusa County in any of his statewide races. Yet he promised a crowd of about 500 at the Colusa Farm Show's annual breakfast that he would protect their water.

The stakes are partly personal for the governor, who retains an interest in 2,700 acres of ranch land in Colusa County settled by his great-grandfather.

"I said we're going to protect that land, and I promise you today that I'm going to protect the water on that land and the water in this county and everywhere else in this state," he told a crowd that generally gave him a warm welcome.

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