MWD Hearing/Vote on Delta Tunnel Funding Was a Farce Restore the Delta statement

For Immediate Release: Dec 9, 2020

Contact: Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, 209-479-2053,

Stockton, CA – The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California voted on Tuesday to support $59 million in continued planning for the Delta tunnel as a public hearing yesterday in Los Angeles. This money comes on top of the $50 million they spent in April 2020 to fund the next phase of tunnel planning.

The proposal to spend this money is coming months before the board has completed its own long-term plan for serving water needs in Southern California. If it is ever built, the tunnel will cost $16-40 billion, and as much as 60 percent of that cost will be borne by MWD. 

The Delta Tunnel will reduce water flows and devastate the environment of the already-fragile San Francisco Bay Delta. The tunnel will hurt salmon and other fish, bird and wildlife populations, and reduce the food source to whales and other marine mammals in the Pacific Ocean. Construction pollution and increasing algal blooms will devastate the Delta’s air quality and already depressed local economy. It will also negatively impact Indigenous communities in Northern California.   

Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, executive director of Restore the Delta, participated in the meeting and issued the following statement:

“First, throwing good money after bad money does not change the end result. GM Kightlinger and Chair Gray did a good job muddying up the waters with four options. When the vote was a yes/no, they did not have 50 percent of the vote.

“Richard Atwater misrepresented Stockton’s position regarding the tunnel to his Board. Period.

“Met ignored the outcry from the entire state, including their own ratepayers during a pandemic. Thousands of people made important and thorough written comments and dozens of verbal comments that MWD General Manager Kightlinger dismissed as repetitive. This follows his pattern of being dismissive of what the public expects from water district management, and a refusal to admit the level of research and depth that constituted a good majority of these comments.” 

“From a Delta perspective, they do not have a plan to save the Delta from flood threat, and the tunnel will worsen water quality with the Delta.

“We thank Sierra Club and California Indian Tribes for all their fine organizing work. We thank all our supporters. We have 18 months before the EIR is out. There’s a lot work to do. Too bad they are squandering valuable resources during a pandemic for a dry tunnel.”

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