This afternoon, California water reporter for the Associated Press, Ellen Knickmeyer released a story with updates to the breaking news from last Friday about the Brown Administration’s plan to scale back the Delta Tunnels (CA WaterFix) project.
Her report confirms what many environmental groups suspected when the San Jose Mercury New’s story was published last Friday—that the state would build one tunnel now, and eventually build the second tunnel at a much later date.
“The revised state proposal talks of building the tunnels in stages, with one of the four-story-high tunnels built now, and another at some indefinite date. Water contractors have previously talked of the possibility of permanently paring the project from two tunnels to one, in hopes of winning support for a smaller project.”
State water officials are reportedly working on a statement for release, and have not released a new cost estimate for the revised tunnel proposal.
Executive Director of Restore the Delta, Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla said,
“The Department of Water Resources is functioning at the direction of Metropolitan Water District to begin contracting for construction on a single tunnel project with two intakes, and then to later phase in an additional tunnel as funding becomes available.
“This is a desperate maneuver to keep CA WaterFix alive. This is not the project described in the Environmental Impact Report for CA WaterFix, or in the permit application presented by the Department of Water Resources and the Bureau of Reclamation for the hearings at the State Water Resources Control Board.
“Californians have a right to know how long construction would take, what the impacts would be on Delta communities, fish, and wildlife under an even longer construction period, how much water would be delivered and when, and what the costs of a phased in project would be. A cost-benefit analysis still needs to be completed. Any attempt to move forward with the project without new environmental documents and project applications is an attempted end-run around California voters and water users. It is bad planning, and bad politics.”
Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Restore the Delta, (209) 479-2053, [email protected]
Nora Kovaleski, 408-806-6470, [email protected]