Delta Tunnels: The fight to block the California WaterFix comes down to the wire

  • Published on August 12th, 2017

In the latest battle in the California water wars, Restore the Delta (RTD) submitted a formal letter to the Metropolitan Water District (MWD) of Southern California, laying out “various fiscal, environmental, and supply reliability risks of the [California WaterFix/ Delta Tunnels] for not only Southern California, but the entire state.”

By Dan Bacher delta tunnels opponents, including fishermen, conservationists, environmental justice advocates, family farmers, Delta residents and elected officials all opposed the Delta Tunnels

Growing numbers of Southern California ratepayers are standing in opposition to Governor Jerry Brown’s Delta Tunnels, considered by opponents to be the most environmentally destructive and unjust public works project in California history.

“MWD is the biggest water buyer in California,” said Tim Stroshane, Policy Analyst for Restore the Delta. “Recent presentations from MWD staff reveal a misguided belief that the way to fix the Delta is by destroying it with tunnels. CA WaterFix is neither a reliable nor cost-effective way to build southern California water supply reliability for the future.”

“It is our hope that this letter will prompt MWD board members to ask questions and insist on detailed answers regarding water yield and costs before committing to spend billions of ratepayer dollars on a project that will California's $15+ billion waterstealing "WaterFix" boondoggleproduce little additional water,” stated Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, RTD executive director. “Southern California ratepayer and environmental groups are making it clear that they oppose the project. MWD member agencies need to decide who they really serve—the well-being of their own agencies and ratepayers, or MWD.”

On July 31, Restore the Delta released their official response to the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California’s secondof three white papers regarding the Delta Tunnels proposal.

MWD’s second white paper focuses on the operations of the tunnels.

“Metropolitan Water District continues to provide a glossy, color-printed fictitious narrative on the benefits of CA WaterFix,” commented Barrigan-Parrilla. “The Delta tunnels will NOT provide greater water reliability for Southern California as droughts become more frequent and longer in duration. “

“They will facilitate more water exports from the Delta during critical dry periods, decimating fisheries and Delta drinking water supplies. Our neighbors in Southern California will be paying more and more for less water, and investments in regional water solutions will be forgotten, because water sales will be used to finance Southern California’s share of the $17 billion debt.,” she said.

To read Restore the Delta’s complete response, click here.

Today, MWD released its third white paper:….

I look forward to seeing RTD’s analysis of it.


About the Author

Dan Bacher is an environmental journalist in Sacramento who focuses on California's water issues, a healthy environment for the salmon fishery of the Northwest, and the attempts by big agriculture and big oil to hog all the water.