ICYMI 1/4/17 – Recent News on the Delta Tunnels and California Water
Economist Sees Shift in Delta Tunnels EIR from Farms to Cities
In his first Valley Economy blog post for 2017, Jeffrey Michael, Executive Director of the Center for Business and Policy Research at the University of the Pacific, gives his initial take on the recently released Final EIR/EIS for Governor Brown’s Delta Tunnels proposal.
What he found is a plan that “Shifts Incremental Water Supplies from Central Valley Project (Farms) to State Water Project (Cities)”
“…I did find one important change from the 2015 Revised Draft EIR/EIS. Compared to No Action, building the WaterFix is now projected to increase water supply to the State Water Project by an average of 186,000 acre feet per year, and decrease water supply to Central Valley Project south of Delta users by 14,000 acre feet per year. While this is a slight decrease from the total exports estimated in the 2015 draft EIR, it is a large change in the distribution between agricultural and urban users.
“The tunnels are more financially feasible if all the incremental water goes to the urban-dominated State Water Project, but they still represent a very poor return on investment for urban water users for the $16+ billion in capital cost: only about 10,000 acre feet of annual water supply per $1 billion in capital investment.
“Metropolitan Water District is still telling their board that they won’t pay more than 25-30% of the tunnels cost. Realistically, I think the only way the tunnels are built is as an urban project – with MWD probably paying about 90% of the cost. Maybe now that we have a final EIR/EIS, we can finally see a realistic financial plan and an honest assessment of project feasibility.”
SAVE THE DATE
On January 25th at 6:00 p.m. in Stockton, Restore the Delta policy analyst, Tim Stroshane will be reading from his new book “Drought, Water Law, and the Origins of California’s Central Valley Project.” Come join us at the Restore the Delta office for a graduate-level class in California Water History. Books will be available for purchase.
Restore the Delta is located at 42 N. Sutter St, Suite 506 Stockton, CA, 95202.