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Media Release: Consumer, Environmental Advocates to Call for Cost-Benefit Analysis of Peripheral Canal/Tunnel: How Much Would Water Rates Rise? Who Benefits?

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Contact: Steve Hopcraft (916) 457-5546 [email protected]; Twitter: @shopcraft;

Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla [email protected]; (209) 479-2053; Twitter: @RestoretheDelta

Sacramento, CA – Consumer and environmental advocates today called for an independent cost-benefit analysis before committing the public to pay tens of billions of dollars to build a Peripheral Canal or Tunnel to take Delta water. “Urban water users would pay billions of dollars for a massive Peripheral Canal or Tunnel. Those who’ll pay deserve to know how much they’d pay and how much benefit would go to those ratepayers,” Conner Everts, Executive Director of Southern California Watershed Alliance, told an Assembly Water, Parks & Wildlife Comm. Hearing on AB 2421 (Berryhill). “There are numerous references to studies, but not one would require a comprehensive cost-benefit analysis.”

Kristin Lynch, Pacific Region Director of Food & Water Watch, told the committee, “It is essential to have an independent analysis of who pays and who benefits before embarking on the largest public works project in the history of California. The BDCP could create a large potential financial exposure for the people of California. Those who plan to take the water will pay only for the ‘conveyance,’ while the people of California would be responsible for all planning and restoration costs. The people deserve to know the true cost they are taking on.”

Restore the Delta, Sierra Club California, the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations, the Delta Coalition and Ducks Unlimited joined in the call for an independent cost-benefit analysis. “The more we learn about how exported water is being used by the corporate agribusiness growers on the west side and southern San Joaquin Valley, the more convinced we become that exported water supports a business model that is bad for tax payers, and completely antithetical to the hope of a sustainable economy and
environment for the Delta and for California,” Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Restore the Delta.

How much would water rates increase for California residents, especially Southern California, if a Peripheral Canal/Tunnel were built?

“Because of its large costs and significant impact on those who do not benefit from the project, it’s appropriate to perform a comprehensive cost-benefit analysis,” Dr. Jeffrey Michael, Director of the Eberhardt School of Business has said. “But the
BDCP is only doing a cost feasibility study, which simply answers the question, whether it can be paid for, and who will pay for it. The question is, should we build this project?”

“‘If you were going to hire an architect to design a house for you … that architect would ask you a very fundamental question before he got out that pencil and ruler: How much can you afford?’ Dennis Cushman, assistant general manager of the San Diego County Water Authority, told the San Francisco Chronicle (March 19, 2012). ‘That is the fundamental question that has not been asked in the process:
How much can ratepayers afford?'”

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