Silicon Valley’s Water District to Revisit Delta Tunnels

SAN JOSE, Calif. (CN) – Silicon Valley’s largest water district executed an about-face regarding California Gov. Jerry Brown’s beloved water project on Friday, indicating a willingness to foot $650 million for the Delta Tunnels.

Six months after voting down contributing to the Delta Tunnels project, the Santa Clara Valley Water District has scheduled a vote for next Wednesday to reconsider approving the provision of an enormous contribution to a project that seeks to funnel enormous amounts of water from the northern part of the state to thirsty farms in the southern part of the Central Valley.

“I haven’t changed my mind, but I’m willing to discuss the principles if people aren’t on the hook for increased costs,” Dick Santos, chairman of the water district, told the Mercury News on Friday…

Santa Clara Valley Water District, coming off one of the worst flooding incidents in downtown San Jose in the city’s history, has plans to build a new dam that will provide more flood control and water storage.

The California Water Commission, comprised by a seven-person board, all of whom are appointed by the governor, is deliberating whether to disburse about $485 million for the construction of a new dam…  (more)


Huge delta plan for moving water cut to just 1 tunnel

California water officials announced Wednesday that a plan to build two giant tunnels for moving water supplies across the state was being reduced to a single, less costly underpass — at least initially — a setback for one of Gov. Jerry Brown’s signature projects.

The director of the Department of Water Resources said the long-sought $17 billion twin tunnels beneath the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta did not have sufficient financial support from the water agencies that ultimately have to shoulder the bill.

An alternative single tunnel, which would traverse the same 35-mile course as the original proposal and similarly transport water from Northern California’s plentiful Sacramento River to drier points in the south, would come with a smaller price tag of $10.7 billion, according to the state. It would also carry just two-thirds as much water… (more)

Westlands dumps Jerry Brown’s Delta tunnels

centralvalleybusinesstimes – excerpt

• Farmers’ rejection puts project in question
• Cite costs of tunnels

The Wedtlands Water District board of directors Tuesday afternoon voted not to participate in Gov. Edmund Gerald Brown’s proposed legacy project– twin water tunnels to drain water out of the Sacramento River before it could flow into the California Delta.

Westlands says the cost is too much. The state has estimated the cost at $17 billion, but an independent economist has put the true cost at as much as $67 billion.

Critics have said the costly project would make irrigation water too costly for farmers to make a profit… (more)

DWR Certifies EIR for WaterFix, Triggering 30-Day Deadline for Opponents to File Suit

by Downey Brand LLP : dsupra – excerpt

On July 21, 2017, the California Department of Water Resources (“DWR”) certified the final environmental document and issued its Notice of Determination for the California WaterFix, a significant new water infrastructure component proposed by DWR and United States Bureau of Reclamation. DWR’s action triggered a 30-day statute of limitations to raise CEQA challenges to the project, which has been the subject of steadily accelerating public discussion and debate over the last two years…

WaterFix, sometimes referred to as the Delta Tunnels, would divert water from the northern Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta just south of Sacramento, under water right permits held by DWR and Reclamation. According to its advocates, WaterFix is intended to improve and update the existing Delta conveyance systems, while preserving the vulnerable species populations that rely on Delta waters…

The approval is one of several required before the WaterFix project can move forward…

Our CEQA attorneys are carefully tracking these legal developments, and will offer thoughts and analysis in future alerts as this situation (and the complicated legal issues surrounding it) evolves… (more)