Just months after Gov. Jerry Brown’s plan to shore up California’s water system with two giant tunnels won key approval from regulators, the $17 billion project is running into potential financial problems.
Westlands Water District, whose board of directors is scheduled to vote Tuesday on whether to help pay for the tunnels, says it needs to spread the costs among a greater number of water districts, both north and south of the Delta, to make the project affordable to the Fresno and Kings county farmers who get water from Westlands.
Over the next several weeks, water districts flung across hundreds of miles of California — from the sprawling almond orchards of the San Joaquin Valley, to the second biggest city in the nation in Los Angeles — will give a thumbs-up or thumbs-down to Gov. Jerry Brown’s Delta tunnels.
The governor has speeded up efforts to secure financing for his $17.1 billion delta tunnel dream. Water agencies should tell the governor they won’t vote to commit their ratepayers to pay for this ill-conceived plan.
Some of the state’s biggest water districts are about to make their opening moves in a financial chess game that ultimately could saddle the Southland with much of the bill for re-engineering the failing heart of California’s water system.
Three years ago, I [California Natural Resources Agency Secretary John Laird] was pleased to join San Diego leaders at a ceremony dedicating the San Vicente Dam Raise, a $416 million project that marked the single largest increase in water storage in San Diego County history.
The clock is ticking as the Brown administration presses public water agencies to make a final decision on whether to fund the proposed California “WaterFix” project, a plan to construct two 40-foot diameter, 35-mile long tunnels under the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
Gov. Jerry Brown is trying to force California water agencies, including the Santa Clara Valley Water District, to vote in the next month on whether they will pay for building his $17 billion “WaterFix” Delta tunnels project.
A federal agency left U.S. taxpayers on the hook for $50 million in water project costs that should have been paid by Central Valley irrigation districts, according to an inspector general’s report released Friday.
In a potential setback for the controversial Delta tunnels, federal auditors say $50 million in taxpayer funds were used to improperly subsidize San Joaquin Valley irrigation districts as they helped plan the project.
The U.S. Interior Department improperly contributed $85 million in taxpayer funds to help pay for a giant California water project backed by Gov. Jerry Brown, despite pledges from Brown and other state and federal authorities that local water districts would bear all the costs, a federal audit said Friday.
The first time Jerry Brown was governor of California, his greatest policy defeat came when resentful Northern Californians voted almost unanimously in 1982 to reverse a legislative vote authorizing a massive ditch around the delta of the San Joaquin and Sacramento rivers.
San Joaquin County supervisors agreed Tuesday to oppose Gov. Jerry Brown’s twin tunnels project – for the second time – and to send nearly 100 pages of highly critical comments to state and federal officials.