Central Basin Scheduled to Vote on WaterFix Today despite Unanswered Questions

For immediate release: October 5, 2017

Nora Kovaleski, 408-806-6470, nora@kovaleskipr.com
Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Restore the Delta, 209-479-2053, barbara@restorethedelta.org


Press Release:
Central Basin Scheduled to Vote on WaterFix 
Today despite Unanswered Questions 


Commerce, CA – The Central Basin Municipal Water District, a member agency of the Metropolitan Water District, is scheduled to vote on CA WaterFix participation this morning at Central Basin Headquarters, 6252 Telegraph Rd, Commerce, CA 90040, starting at 10AM. Central Basin Board Directors are being asked to support Metropolitan Water District’s goal of 26 percent participation without proof of any committed project partners, defined water allocations, or a finance plan set in place. 
At their last board meeting, the Central Basin Board of Directors noted that before they could make a decision on the project, they needed to know Kern County Water Authority’s impending participation status, and needed the information presented at the September 26th MWD board workshop. Lack of information and board attendance at the MWD workshop combined with KCWA’s delayed vote (that still remains unscheduled) has created the perfect storm. There are now more questions about the project, but no answers for Central Basin Directors.
For example, at the September 26, 2017 Board Workshop on CA WaterFix, MWD General Manager, Jeff Kightlinger said the project could be one tunnel now — a 6000 cfs tunnel. What Kightlinger failed to mention is that choosing to build one tunnel instead of two would require new project descriptions, new biological opinions, a new engineering plan, a new operations plan, and a new financing plan. The option to build one tunnel was not evaluated in the EIR, nor has it been presented for permitting to the State Water Resources Control Board.
Last week, the Wheeler Ridge-Maricopa Water Storage District released a draft analysis regarding the financing of CA WaterFix in 2033 dollars, as a way to ascertain true total costs of the project. This draft analysis was completed on September 15, 2017, prior to Westlands dropping out of project participation. Restore the Delta broke down the numbers in the KCWA analysis in a recent press release.
Executive Director of Restore the Delta, Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla said:
“The Kern analysis still does not answer the 45% funding gap. MWD representatives, including Jeff Kightlinger, are making statements that Westlands' share of the project was only 14%. This is fuzzy math/logic. Smaller CVP contractors would have opted into the project if Westlands had voted to move forward — but not one CVP contractor has committed to joining WaterFix. There is no identified funder for 45% of the project as presented. Going back to square one by shifting CA WaterFix to a one tunnel project will take years of planning, permitting, and financing. The project is in disarray.”
To view Central Basin’s special meeting agenda, click here.

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