Sacramento – Officials for CA WaterFix Industry Day announced that while not all funding is available for WaterFix presently, that the first $1 billion for four contracts will be made public today, December 7, 2017. The Design Construction Enterprise (a CA WaterFix unit staffed by Metropolitan Water District employees and associates embedded in the Department of Water Resources), will be organizing into a Construction Joint Powers Authority and awarding contracts despite reports of dubious financial arrangements and project management qualifications as reported by the State Auditor.
Friends of the Restore the Delta campaign attending CA WaterFix Industry Day noted that program presenters barely acknowledged that the permit process is far from finished, or which agency sourced the initial $1 billion in funding. These notes can be read here, while official program materials can be accessed here.
Project officials also claimed some sort of groundbreaking ceremonies will take place during December 18, 2018, despite project design stated to be 5% complete—a shift from the original 10% designed status noted by project officials before the State Water Resources Control Board and at other public agency meetings.
Restore the Delta executive director Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla said,
“It is my sincere hope that our union brothers and sisters working in construction and veterans business groups will take heed of the findings by the State Auditor regarding the project’s finances before making business plans with the state for the project. Hearings for the Validation Suit filed by the Department of Water Resources and associated responses have been delayed; permitting for the project is far from complete; and the majority of water agencies have not committed to paying for the project.
“The idea that DWR can offer $1 billion in contracts for a project that has not been permitted by State and Federal agencies is an outrageous use of public money. We are calling on the Delta Legislative Caucus and other legislative budget committee leaders to hold immediate hearings as to what is transpiring with the Department of Water Resources. They are in a rush to circumvent regular public permitting processes so as to hold “a theatrical groundbreaking” to appease Governor Brown before he leaves office. This is a blatant misuse of public money, regardless of whether it is paid for by state taxpayers or water ratepayers. The project is not permitted, not yet approved, and the offering of contracts now puts the financial cart before the horse.”
To learn more about what happened at CA WaterFix Industry Day, tune in to a special episode of Delta Flows on the Voice of Stockton Radio tomorrow morning. Press can listen live from 10-11am via the KXVS Facebook page or YouTube page. For those who are unavailable at this time, the episode will be posted to the KXVS Facebook and YouTube pages, as well as the Restore the Delta Facebook page after the episode has aired.