MWD Looking to Get Control of First Delta Tunnel and State’s Water Distribution

Today at the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD) Bay-Delta Committee meeting, General Manager Jeff Kightlinger and Assistant General Manager Roger Patterson revealed that Governor Brown, the State Water Contractors, and the Department of Water Resources (DWR) have been part of discussions to move forward with the first tunnel of the phased-in CA WaterFix project, while keeping quiet about specifics of a potential second tunnel.
In addition to contributing to half of the State Water Project share of the tunnel project, MWD is considering the creation of a separate joint-powers authority (JPA) to pay for the Central Valley Project share of the tunnel, providing it can achieve favorable contractual guarantees from the state to control water deliveries and repayment terms for the project.
Mr. Kightlinger explained during a question period that Santa Clara Valley Water District staff is presenting an option to the Santa Clara Valley Board to consider co-financing an $11 billion single tunnel as part of the phased-in project. He also explained that Westlands Water District has indicated interest in purchasing wheeled water (water that is moved and resold from project to project) from a project financed by Metropolitan Water District. Kightlinger also mentioned that Governor Brown wants decisions made by MWD and other key players within a two-week period.
MWD board members expressed deep concern about Kightlinger’s goal of a board action vote taking place this April before the supplemental Environmental Impact Report (EIR) is completed, and before the State Water Resources Control Board diversion criteria and permits are determined later this fall.
Restore the Delta’s executive director Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla said,
“There is so much to unpack for the public from what was revealed today at MWD’s Bay-Delta Committee meeting. On the surface, it is clear that the California Department of Water Resources is moving forward with a two tunnels application for the change in the point of diversion to secure a State Water Project right for MWD, who will become the financier and operator of the project. California’s water management is being gamed to give the majority of power over watershed management throughout the state to Metropolitan Water District. The state is abdicating its responsibility to manage water for all people in California as a public trust resource.”
Restore the Delta’s tweets of the meeting can be viewed here.
Video and handouts from the meeting can be found here.


For immediate release: 2/27/18

Nora Kovaleski, 408-806-6470,
Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Restore the Delta, 209-479-2053,

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