Recent News

USGS Hayward Earthquake Scenario is Not a Justification for CA WaterFix

The U.S. Geological Survey recently released a Hayward Earthquake Scenario that reminds Bay Area residents and businesses to prepare for “the big one” and stresses the need for improving local infrastructure to protect San Francisco Bay Area water supplies in the event of a 7.0-magnitude earthquake on the Hayward Fault. CA WaterFix proponents are touting the report as a justification for building the tunnels as an upgrade to the current infrastructure system, but this exaggerates the report’s findings, which only mentions Delta levees being “affected” by aftershocks in the Survey’s modeled scenarios of the large earthquake. Other research by seismologists and geologists indicate that quakes originating on Bay Area earthquake faults, such as the August 2014 Napa quake, had little [...]

MWD Changes Course on Delta Tunnels Twice in One Week: Could Twin Tunnels vs. Phased Tunnels Discussion Result in Split Vote?

On Friday at the eleventh hour, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD) pivoted their direction on the Delta Tunnels again, putting the twin tunnels back on the table for discussion during their April 10 vote, after scrapping the $17 billion proposal in a board memo sent on Monday. Instead of voting on funding for the first tunnel of a staged project approach as planned, the MWD board will pick one of two options to move forward with the CA WaterFix: 1. Approve funding for the first 6,000 cfs tunnel of a phased-in project (that would add an additional 3,000 cfs tunnel much later). 2. Approve upfront costs of the original twin tunnels project (two identical 4,500 cfs tunnels [...]

In Case You Missed It: “Metropolitan Water District backs away from plan to finance both delta tunnels”

On Monday, the Los Angeles Times reported that the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD) will no longer pursue plans to finance the total construction costs of the twin tunnels, known formally as the California WaterFix. MWD general manager, Jeff Kightlinger explained why the Southern California water district would be changing course again in a board memo sent to MWD directors on Monday. Next Tuesday April 10, the MWD board will be asked to vote on funding their share of the phased-in approach to CA WaterFix. Specifically, the board will be asked to approve phase one of the project—a 6,000 cfs tunnel with two intakes—whereas the second 3,000 cfs tunnel with one intake will be subject to board approval [...]

Metropolitan Water District Documents Show Questionable Analysis to Justify Desired Outcome of Phased-In Delta Tunnel Analysis: Response from University of the Pacific’s Dr. Jeff Michael and Restore the Delta’s Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla

STOCKTON, CA – Documents acquired by Restore the Delta from a recent a public records act request to Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD) confirm that MWD and the State Water Contractors (SWC) collaborated to rework an unfavorable draft of the economic analysis report released recently to the public for the phased-in approach to construction of the Delta tunnels. According to a recently authored response by Dr. Jeff Michael, Director of the Center for Business and Policy Research at the University of the Pacific, to DWR’s current economic analysis for California WaterFix, the alterations made in the data used by MWD and the SWC delivered “highly biased modeling scenarios and assumptions to Dr. Sunding in order to boost the [...]

New PPIC Survey Reveals CA WaterFix’s Likely Voter Support Caps at 42 Percent

Public Policy Institute of California’s most recent statewide survey, Californians & Their Government, revealed that only 42 percent of likely voters support Governor Brown’s Delta tunnels project. Specifically, those surveyed were asked, “The governor has proposed to improve the reliability of water supplies by building tunnels in the Sacramento–San Joaquin Delta—starting with one tunnel and then adding a second tunnel in the future. How important is this proposal for the future quality of life and economic vitality of California—is it very important, somewhat important, not too important, or not at all important?” PPIC’s Methodology explains, “Results may also be affected by factors such as question wording, question order, and survey timing” [page 23], but does not include information as to [...]

CA WaterFix Cost-Benefit Analysis: Another Incomplete, Inaccurate Chapter

Today, California WaterFix staff released a cost-benefit analysis of the new phased-in tunnels project. However, the analysis is incomplete, as it only examines the initial phased-in tunnel and states that analysis for the second tunnel would need to be completed in the future. Restore the Delta will release additional responses to the document in the days ahead.  However, two areas of concern can be found from a simple perusal. Numerous questions about the validity of the CalSimsII modeling used to determine needed flows through the Delta, storage of water behind dams, and water exports through the tunnels have been raised by protestants at the State Water Resources Control Board, yet it is the modeling system used for this cost-benefit analysis. [...]

Notes from CA WaterFix Industry Day: DWR to Award up to $1 Billion in Contracts for Proposal, Before Completing Permit Process & Financial Analysis

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 [...]

California Water Fix Tunnels Myths Addressed

Update: 7.22.16 Here’s more evidence showing that the earthquake risk to the Delta is exaggerated and just another scare tactic used by pro-Delta Tunnel proponents. This recent study by USGS, presented at the Delta Independence Science Board, show that the earthquake threat to Delta levees is significantly less than originally thought. The California Water Fix tunnels don’t eliminate earthquake threats to water supply. Earthquake risk mythmaking serves water exporters’ interests. Water exporters misrepresent the risk of earthquakes to generate support for the Delta Tunnels. => Fattening the levees is a more effective solution to the California Water Fix. • Californians should work together to build a more seismically resistant Delta that will protect water exports, other critical infrastructure, and save lives — [...]

New Revised Draft Biological Assessment of Delta Tunnels Proposal Released, Restore the Delta Reaction

Sacramento – Late Tuesday, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and the California Department of Water Resources released their “Revised Draft Biological Assessment” for the California Water Fix (Delta Tunnels). The document is posted online here. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service will use the document to decide whether the tunnels would violate the Endangered Species Act. The new document comes as supporters and opponents of the Delta Tunnels are presenting their cases at permit hearings before the California State Water Resources Control Board. Those hearings are expected to last six months. Reacting to the new document, Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, executive director of Restore the Delta, said: “While we are still working through the document, it is clear [...]