Secret talks would give SoCal water powers more clout
April 22, 2013
• Sacramento Bee says they would control Twin Tunnels construction
• Delta, NorCal would be shut out
Southern California’s major water agencies would control a joint powers authority to build two massive, 35-mile long tunnels to siphon water away from the Sacramento River before it could naturally flow into the Delta, the Sacramento Bee newspaper says.
The Bee says it has learned that the Westlands Water District, the Kern County Water Agency and the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California would be the major players in the joint powers deal with the Santa Clara Valley Water District given a minor role.
There would be no room at the table for San Joaquin-Sacramento Delta interests or those from Northern California, according to the Bee’s story Monday.
“Documents indicate that planning for the agreement has been under way for months,” the Bee reports. (See link to Bee’s story below.)
The twin tunnels, strongly backed by Gov. Jerry Brown, would replace a peripheral canal, which was rejected by Californians in 1983, when Jerry Brown was previously governor.
Each of the tunnels would be 40 feet in diameter and be buried about 150 feet beneath the ground. Massive water intakes near Courtland would suck water out of the Sacramento River and send it via the tunnels to the State Water Project and Central Valley Project.
Cost of the tunnels is supposed to be paid by the users of the water. While a construction cost of $14 billion has been widely reported, a total cost, to include interest on the money borrowed, could push it to over $50 billion, making it one of the most expensive single public works projects in the nation’s history.