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San Luis Delta-Mendota Water Authority to Consider Delta Tunnels Spending

For Immediate Release: 1/11/17
Contact: Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, 209-479-2053, [email protected]

San Luis Delta-Mendota Water Authority to Consider Delta Tunnels Spending:
Another $4 Million Toward Larger Planning Package

Stockton, CA – According to their own agenda and board packet, the San Luis Delta-Mendota Water Authority will be considering a resolution to contribute another $4 million to CA WaterFix tomorrow at their district board meeting. (Documents can presently be found at the SLDMWA website; PDFs can be found also at Restore the Delta.)
In Spring 2016, San Luis Delta-Mendota Water Authority was placed on negative credit watch with Westlands Water District for engaging in “a little Enron accounting.” While their credit rating was raised at the end of 2016, the California Department of Water Resources is asking San Luis Delta-Mendota Water Authority and the Bureau of Reclamation for a contribution that may exceed the Federal share for planning costs for continuing with CA WaterFix (Click here for resolution). Pending Federal and State audits are examining how Westlands Water District, a San Luis Delta-Mendota Water Authority member, advanced payments which were applied to planning costs for the Delta Tunnels in return for water payment credits, even though documents filed for the Federal Assistance Agreement indicate that Federal and State contractors were to pay for an even 50-50 split for planning costs.
Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla with Restore the Delta expressed concerns over the pending vote:
“Existing memorandums of understanding between State and Federal Contractors require a 50-50 split for the costs, and Federal Assistance Agreements require the State of California to fund the planning effort by at least 50 percent. The San Luis Delta-Mendota resolution seems to be ignoring these requirements, which ironically is the type of contract violation that Westlands sues government agencies over after contracts are executed. Even more troubling, the resolution does not say where the additional funding for planning is coming from.
“Metropolitan Water District’s Jeff Kightlinger has repeatedly told his board that MWD will not be making further contributions until the project is approved. Santa Clara Valley Water District has temporarily suspended its CA WaterFix planning work group. Is the Department of Water Resources contributing the additional millions required to move forward with Delta Tunnels planning? What would be the source for that funding? California taxpayers? How will the additional millions be used? For marketing campaigns to convince Californians that they need the tunnels, when they don’t?
“Testimony by project opponents at the State Water Resources Control Board clearly indicates that Delta water users will be greatly harmed by the Delta Tunnels, from individual landowners to the hundreds of thousands of people who depend on the Delta for multiple domestic uses of water. The State has failed to show no injury to Delta water users, and the impacts to water quality from salinity to toxic algal blooms cannot be mitigated. Continuing to throw good ratepayer and taxpayer money after bad is insane, especially when we consider that hundreds of local water projects need to be set in place to collect heavy rainwater from storm events like the one we are experiencing, instead of financing one project to convey melted snowpack when snowpack will be available with less and less frequency.”

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  • Paul Harford
    January 11, 2017, 11:17 am

    The little blurb I just read encapsulates the short-sightedness of the Delta Tunnels. Why spend more money for a destructive, disruptive project with such narrow benefit perameters when we could better spend money upgrading and mitigating the substantial amount of rain and snow melt we will be dealing with here in NorCal?