“In years past, we’ve taken water from the Owens Valley, the California Delta and the Colorado River. But we cannot rely solely on 20th century engineering for our 21st century water needs — and projects like the Delta tunnels run the risk of siphoning off precious ratepayer dollars and endangering the fragile Delta ecosystem. We will never be able to solve our water needs if we have tunnel vision.
“Local water is affordable water. While our water goals come at a cost, the long-term price is far less than importing water from the Delta or across state lines. The state has supported these efforts and awarded Los Angeles a $44.5 million grant covering half the construction cost of the North Hollywood West Wellhead. L.A. voters who helped pass the recent state water bond will continue to count on state support as other projects advance, and also hope to see more engagement from the federal government.”
“The results of our analysis indicate that the estimated costs of producing local water supplies are higher than the projected cost of importing water. However, there are large monetized benefits (as well as potentially important non-monetized benefits) associated with local water supply projects; and when we compare monetizable benefits to costs, there are positive net benefits of local water supply. We estimate the net benefit of the city-based scenario goal as $4.3 to $5.8 billion, and the net benefit of the max local scenario goal as $7.4 to $10.1 billion.”
“Congress has not agreed to pay for Trump’s wall. Likewise, Metropolitan’s board should not agree to finance the Governor’s tunnels. The Met board has been misled about financing the tunnels for a decade, and I would advise board members not to believe this latest plan either: The farmers aren’t going to pay you back, AND you aren’t going to get a share of their water supply if they don’t.
“All the way back in 2012, I predicted in an economic analysis of the tunnels that they were financially infeasible unless urban ratepayers and/or taxpayers covered 90% of the cost. I think that prediction is looking pretty good today. It is certainly more accurate than the consultant and staff presentations the MWD board has been listening to for 10 years.”
“Environmental groups have consistently argued that constructing two tunnels — each taller than a three-story building — would inevitably invite exporters to pull ever more water out of the delta, despite their assurances to the contrary.
“‘Once these are constructed, the operations will be subject to whatever the politics of the day are,’ said Minton, senior water policy advisor at the Planning and Conservation League. ‘It’s like giving a teenager the keys to a 400-horsepower Mustang car and telling them only to drive at 60 miles an hour.’”
In case you missed it: 3/6/18
Nora Kovaleski, 408-806-6470, [email protected]
Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Restore the Delta, 209-479-2053, [email protected]