• Scumbag mooonbeam Brown's grand water-tunnel project runs into money un

    From edellwy@21:1/5 to All on Tue Sep 19 11:55:34 2017
    XPost: alt.california, sac.politics, or.politics
    XPost: alt.global-warming

    Shitbag Brown, flush it down.

    Just months after Gov. Jerry Brown’s plan to shore up
    California’s water system with two giant tunnels won key
    approval from regulators, the $17 billion project is running
    into potential financial problems.

    The dozens of agencies that have expressed support for the delta
    tunnels as a way to ensure that they get more reliable water
    deliveries, from Silicon Valley to the Central Valley to Los
    Angeles, are supposed to produce financial commitments in coming
    weeks. Many, however, appear reluctant to sign on.

    Officials with the sprawling Westlands Water District in the
    western San Joaquin Valley, the state’s largest agricultural
    supplier, voiced concern on the eve of a Tuesday vote that the
    cost won’t justify the benefit. Westlands is the first major
    agency to vote on whether to help pay for the tunnels, and its
    decision is likely to influence other water districts around the

    Those districts won’t know exactly how much they — and their
    customers — will have to pay until all the suppliers have spoken.

    “It’s kind of a chicken-and-egg thing: Do you support the
    project or not?” said Robert Shaver, general manager of the
    Alameda County Water District, which serves Fremont, Newark and
    Union City and gets 40 percent of its water from state water

    “We can’t determine what the cost is going to be without knowing
    who is supportive of the project, but it’s hard to support the
    project” without knowing the cost.

    Whatever the financial obligation turns out out to be, it’s
    certain to prompt water agencies to raise rates.

    The governor’s plan calls for a pair of 35-mile-long tunnels to
    be built through the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta for
    moving water from the north state to the Bay Area and Southern
    California. Proponents of the project say the delta’s current
    system of canals and levees is crumbling, and without the
    upgrade known as California WaterFix, statewide water deliveries
    as well as local wildlife will suffer.

    The cost of the project is supposed to be split among the
    agencies that receive delta water, with each paying a portion
    commensurate with their allotment. But some smaller water
    agencies have already decided it will cost too much and have
    opted out.

    That raises the cost for all those that remain.

    The Alameda County Water District, which serves about 350,000
    people in the East Bay, hasn’t scheduled a vote on whether to
    commit to the project. The larger Santa Clara Valley Water
    District, which also relies on delta water for about 40 percent
    of its supply, has agreed to make a decision next month, though
    it remains equally uncertain about which way to go.

    “The district continues to evaluate the project,” John Varela,
    board chairman for the Santa Clara Valley agency, said in an
    email. “We are methodically reviewing a combination of water
    supply possibilities, weighing the risks, and focusing on cost
    control to make the best investment decisions for the future of
    Santa Clara County.”

    State officials say agencies that don’t help pay for the tunnels
    won’t be entitled to their benefits. At stake, officials say, is
    a boost in water supply of up to 20 percent when the new, more
    efficient infrastructure is in place.

    Erin Mellon, spokeswoman for the California Department of Water
    Resources, said Monday that while there’s no timeline for water
    agencies to make their funding decision, they need to do so soon
    so the project can get off the ground. The department would like
    to begin building the tunnels as early as next year. The work is
    expected to take at least a decade.

    “If there aren’t enough water contractors at the table, we’ll
    have to go back and reassess the project,” Mellon said.

    Downsizing the work is the obvious alternative, though what form
    that would take remains unclear. Any new proposal would have to
    undergo the same regulatory scrutiny that the tunnels plan has
    endured, a process that could take years.

    In July, WaterFix won a long-awaited approval for its
    environmental review, overcoming environmentalists’ concerns
    that the project could harm water quality and endanger fish runs
    in the delta.

    Managers of the Westlands Water District, which provides water
    to farmers across 1,000 square miles of Fresno and Kings
    counties, released financial projections last week that suggest
    the math might not work out in their favor.

    Westlands is among several water agencies that get their water
    not from the state but from the federal government, which also
    plans to use the twin tunnels to move water. The federal
    contractors are being asked to foot 45 percent of the total
    bill, with state contractors taking up the balance.

    According to the district’s report, the billions of dollars that
    Westlands might have to commit to the project would force the
    district to more than double water rates for growers. And if
    additional water agencies decline to commit to the project,
    rates could rise even further.

    “There’s a lot we don’t know,” said Sarah Woolf, a Central
    Valley farmer and Westlands board member. “Honestly, I don’t
    know that we’re at a stage that we can vote.”

    A legal challenge filed last week also threatens to undermine
    the financing of the tunnels proposal. Six groups submitted
    court papers contending that the state can’t legally issue bonds
    to pay for WaterFix because the project faces too much
    uncertainty, from pending lawsuits over its environmental impact
    to a failure to identify its funders.

    “They haven’t even reached agreement on who’s going to pay what
    percentage,” said Bob Wright, an attorney representing Friends
    of the River, Restore the Delta, the Planning and Conservation
    League, and the Sierra Club California.

    Wright fears that the state will come up short on money for the
    tunnels but still choose to proceed and pass the debt on to

    “People who don’t benefit,” he said, “will have to foot the

    Kurtis Alexander is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer.
    Email: kalexander@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @kurtisalexander

    http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Gov-Brown-s-delta-water- tunnels-facing-12207654.php

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