MWD Commits $160 million for Delta Conveyance Pre-Construction Costs

By on December 10, 2020
Metropolitan Water District

Earlier this week the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California’s (MWD) board of directors voted unanimously to fund its share of the environmental planning and pre-construction costs for the Delta Conveyance Project. At 47.2 percent of the $340.7 million in planning costs, MWD will be contributing $160.8 million over the next four years.

“It is critical that we do everything we can to make sure this vital water supply remains reliable,” Metropolitan board Chairwoman Gloria D. Gray said. “It not only provides nearly one third of the water used in Southern California, it is also one of our most affordable and highest quality supplies. This action helps ensure our communities can rely on this water for generations to come.”

MWD joins a growing list of water agencies throughout the state in pledging its support for a project that increases the long-term reliability of the State Water Project. The board’s vote ensures the project’s environmental review and planning phase will move forward. As proposed, the single-tunnel project would feature two intakes and a capacity of 6,000 cubic feet per-second, though other project alternatives are also being considered as part of the planning process.

“We’re already facing reduced water deliveries as a result of ecological challenges in the Delta. Without intervention, this critical supply faces other, growing threats, particularly from climate change,” Metropolitan General Manager Jeffrey Kightlinger said. “We need a modernized system in the Delta that can capture runoff from large storms when they happen, and move water into storage for times of drought. And we need a system that is more resilient to earthquakes. This next planning phase is critical to developing such a system.”

“Metropolitan’s approval today is an important step in the state’s efforts to achieve Governor Gavin Newsom’s Water Resilience Portfolio,” said SCWC Executive Director Charley Wilson. “California’s path to resilience hinges on a right-sized Delta Conveyance project that creates a more secure water supply for Californians and this vote today ensures that funding is in place to move the planning process to conclusion.”

A draft Environmental Impact Report is expected in mid-2022.