News & Press

Delta Water Project Downsized by New Administration

California Governor Gavin Newson announced during his recent State of the State address that he plans to substantially downsize the proposed twin-tunnel Delta Water project. The February 12 announcement represents a major scaling back of former Gov. Jerry Brown’s push to build two massive tunnels under the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta to move water from north to south in California.

The move to scale back the estimated $19 billion twin-tunnel water plan to a single tunnel now estimated at roughly $10 billion is viewed as a setback by groups favoring a larger scale solution, including the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. It was hailed by environmentalists, Delta farmers and others who opposed the larger project.

Jeffrey Kightlinger, general manager of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, responded to Gov. Newsom’s comments on the California WaterFix project by urging him to move forward with some solution to the state’s critical water infrastructure needs.

“Metropolitan welcomes Governor Newsom’s endorsement of modernizing California’s water conveyance system in the Delta,” Kightlinger said in a press release following the Governor’s recent address. “While a single tunnel project will not resolve all pumping problems in the Delta and is less flexible for dealing with climate change impacts, it is imperative that we move forward rapidly on a conveyance project. Having no Delta fix imperils all of California. We intend to work constructively with the Newsom Administration on developing a refined California WaterFix project that addresses the needs of cities, farms and the environment.” 

According to a recent report in Engineering News-Record, the announcement will likely require new environmental reviews and delays in a project that has been in the planning stages for over a decade. Along with the water plan announcement, Gov. Newsom also named a new chair to the State Water Resources Control Board, Joaquin Esquivel, a two-year board member.