Thursday, July 7, 2011

Government planning financing of a peripheral canal?

Delta group claims government is planning financing of a peripheral canal

July 6, 2011 9:03pm
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•  UPDATED with comment from State Water Contrators
•  Says water exporters working with state and federal regulators behind closed doors
•  ‘Crafting a finance plan without California taxpayer and/or rate payer input’

Representatives from the State Water Contractors, the San Luis Delta-Mendota Water Authority, and the Metropolitan Water District (which serves Los Angeles and other parts of Southern California) are holding closed-door meetings with officials from the Bureau of Reclamation and the Department of Water Resources to create a financing plan to build a peripheral canal around the Delta or a tunnel beneath it, claims the nonprofit group Restore the Delta.
The project, known as the Bay Delta Conservation Plan, may divert much of the flow of the Sacramento River away from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
“Video from the June 28 Metropolitan Water District Special Committee on the Bay Delta confirms that water contractors, including Metropolitan Water District's General Manager Roger Patterson, are already working with government officials to create the finance plan for new conveyance,” says Restore the Delta.
"The BDCP website describes work on project financing as not beginning until the fall of 2011 after determinations are made regarding benefits of new water deliveries for state and federal water contractors,” says Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, executive director of Restore the Delta. “However, as we have always suspected, those who want to take additional water away from Northern California and the Delta are crafting a finance plan without California taxpayer and/or rate payer input."
California Delta Chambers Executive Director Bill Wells says urban water users in San Diego and Los Angeles would likely see their water bills increase to pay for a canal or tunnel.
“Can Central Valley farmers afford to farm if the price of water triples and quadruples to pay for a canal? And how much of the financial burden will be shifted to taxpayers to cover the astronomical costs for environmental mitigation to the Delta?" he says.
“The conveyance will be paid for by water users, and by only the water users who get their water supply from the conveyance,” says Laura King Moon, assistant general manager of the State Water Contractors.
The word “conveyance” is how the state and water users refer to what would be either a peripheral canal around the Delta or a tunnel beneath it.
She says the water users are meeting with state and federal officials in an effort to get a better idea of what they will have to pony up to build the “conveyance.”
“It’s not taxpayer money,” she says.
But she says the total plan includes more than a canal or tunnel. It would also include habitat restoration in the Delta, with taxpayers picking up a portion of that.

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