Los Angeles Controller opposes governor’s water tunnels
October 9, 2017
• Says project too costly, too hidden from public
• “L.A. ratepayers could end up footing more than their fair share of the bill”
The proposed California Delta water tunnels are the wrong solution to Southern California’s water needs, says Ron Galperin, city controller for Los Angeles.
His comments come on the eve of a scheduled vote to move forward on the project, known to its supporters by its latest marketing moniker, the “WaterFix,” by the powerful Metropolitan Water District of Los Angeles.
More than 20 million Californians who use water for their businesses or homes will ultimately pay for the tunnels through higher water rates. But how much is a guess. The state Department of Water Resources puts construction costs at $17 billion; the Kern County Water Agency says it could be double that, and an independent economist says the final cost might be $67 billion, once the bankers who loan the construction money are paid off.
By any of the estimates, it would be the most expensive water project in California history.
“We need a reliable way to secure water for our region, but this high-priced ‘fix’ comes with a troubling lack of transparency,” Mr. Galperin says Monday.
“Without safeguards in place, L.A. ratepayers could end up footing more than their fair share of the bill, particularly if even more water districts opt out of paying for WaterFix,” says Mr. Galperin. “It is unfair to expect ratepayers or property owners to shoulder the burden of WaterFix costs without a clear understanding of how this project will best benefit Angelenos.”
The project would build two tunnels underneath the California Delta to suck fresh water out of the Sacramento River before it could flow into the Delta.