For Immediate Release: August 17, 2017
Nora Kovaleski, 408-806-6470, [email protected]
Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Restore the Delta, 209-479-2053, [email protected]
Restore the Delta Outlines Risks of
Delta Tunnels Participation for Westlands in Comment Letter
Yesterday, Restore the Delta submitted a formal letter regarding the risks of the CA WaterFix proposal to the Westlands Water District. The comment letter outlined various fiscal, environmental, and supply reliability risks of the project for Westlands farmers and reveals the steep cost of the project, even should Central Valley Project (CVP) contractors agree to a 20-30 percent participation share.
In addition, Fitch Ratings Service said in a press release yesterday that, "The MWD (Metropolitan Water District) estimate is based on a cost split for the Fix of 55 percent SWP (State Water Project) and 45 percent CVP (Central Valley Project). However, this assumes that all other SWP and CVP contractors sign on to the Fix. The cost to MWD and its ratepayers could be higher if some contractors decline to participate.”
Should Westlands as part of the Central Valley Project only be able to pay 20-30 percent for the tunnels, the State Water Project would end up paying 70-80 percent of total WaterFix costs, with MWD paying a 37-42 percent of WaterFix total costs, based on their own formulas. In addition, Fitch notes that some water districts are now hitting the threshold for water affordability.
Executive Director of Restore the Delta, Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla said:
"There is such a high degree of financial risk for farmers in the Westlands Water District with CA WaterFix that we cannot see any true benefits for them from the project. In addition, if the Metropolitan Water District becomes the lead agency for a Finance Joint Powers Authority (they're already leading the effort on the Construction Joint Powers Authority) as discussed at a recent MWD meeting, Westlands will be tied to and following the lead of the largest urban water district in California, rather than setting their own water management course. Considering that MWD senior management continues to tell its board that Central Valley Project contractors, which Westlands is a part of, will be contributing a 45 percent share toward construction costs for CA WaterFix, when we know CVP contractors are also considering a smaller 20 percent or 30 percent contribution, it seems that MWD has unreasonably high expectations that Westlands will follow their financial and planning lead into the future.”
Policy Analyst for Restore the Delta, Tim Stroshane said:
“Westlands farmers and officials may already feel this way, but we wanted to share with them how garbled WaterFix financing and planning has become under MWD leadership. They are asked to decide on whether their next farming generation should be loaded with huge WaterFix debt, and no clear willingness to pay for it.”
To read Restore the Delta’s letter, click here.