For Immediate Release: 5/9/19
Bob Wright, Friends of the River, (916) 442-3155 x207
Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Restore the Delta, (209) 479-2053
Sacramento – The California Department of Water Resources has formally rescinded the Bond Resolutions authorizing issuance of almost $9 billion of bonds to pay for the start of construction of the Delta Twin Tunnels. The resolution was adopted on May 7, 2019. DWR’s funding for any new one-tunnel proposal must start from scratch.
Attorneys representing conservation, agriculture, and fishing groups today praised this action by DWR.
Statement by Bob Wright, Senior Counsel, Friends of the River
There is great news now reflecting a complete restart of Department of Water Resources (DWR) planning for Delta water export issues including conveyance. On May 7, 2019, DWR rescinded the Bond Resolutions authorizing issuance of almost $9 billion of bonds to pay for the start of construction of the WaterFix Delta Tunnels Project. The bond resolutions had been adopted by DWR on July 21, 2017. DWR then filed a state court action in Sacramento to validate the issuance of the bonds, which if successful, would have prevented any later challenges to the financing for the project. Friends of the River, Restore the Delta, Sierra Club California, and the Planning and Conservation League were among the public interest organizations who appeared in the action to challenge the legality of DWR’s adoption of the bond resolutions.
Now, the rescinding of the bond resolutions reflects a complete start over of DWR’s Delta water export planning process. Our public interest organizations now have the opportunity to seek sensible water resource planning focused on protection and restoration of the San Francisco Bay-Delta Estuary by increasing instead of reducing freshwater flows through the Delta. DWR can be urged to adopt modern, 21st century water measures such as water efficiency and demand reduction programs including urban and agricultural water conservation, recycling, and storm water recapture and reuse.
Governor Gavin Newsom took a giant step to require effective and sensible water resources planning in California by issuance of his Executive Order on April 29, 2019. His Order requires California agencies to inventory and assess water demand and availability, “embrace innovation and new technologies,”, and “incorporate successful approaches from other parts of the world.” Our public interest organizations have been advocating such planning for years and now the Governor has turned ideas into action. The rescinding of the bond resolutions is a key step in starting down this sensible path now required by the Governor.