MWD’s legislative outlook on the Twin Tunnels Project

By on February 8, 2016
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On Friday, Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD), the largest wholesaler of water in the state, held a community briefing on water supply issues. In attendance was Congressman Ken Calvert (R-Corona), who represents the 42nd congressional district and State Senator Mike Morrell (R-Rancho Cucamonga), who represents the 23rd senate district. The two representatives joined in a panel discussion with Randy Record, chairman of MWD and Jeff Kightlinger, MWD general manager.

Many water-related issues, including conservation mandates and the Twin Tunnel Project, were addressed. Congressman Calvert provided an inside look at Congress’ struggle to create effective water legislation, primarily because of political gridlock between members of Congress and environmentalists.

According to Calvert, the House of Representatives passed an aggressive bill that would allow Southern Californians to receive water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. In order to rectify differences between the House and Senate, both houses are expected to come together sometime in the near future.

“The fact is Carlsbad [Desalination Plant] took way too long to approve,” Calvert said to an audience of water agencies and businesses. “It took probably 10 years to receive approval before Carlsbad could be built. They want to build a desalination plant in Huntington Beach. We need to get that done quickly.”

“We need to have a rational agreement on how much water we can pump, acknowledging that we have to operate under current regulations,” Calvert added.

Calvert emphasized his support for the Twin Tunnel Project, citing the number of people in Southern California verses Northern California.

“Only four percent of the Delta’s water comes to SoCal,” Randy Record, chairman of MWD, added.

California Water News Daily asked Congressman Calvert if the federal government will have any involvement in the Twin Tunnels Project or if any federal funding will be involved.

“The federal funds aren’t need,” Calvert responded. “The Twin Tunnels Project is a user-based system, which is a good thing. It means federal funds aren’t necessary.”

According to Kightlinger, MWD alone has spent $250 million to conduct environmental studies and receive approval for the Twin Tunnels Project over the last 10 years.

“We need to work with our elected officials to make tough decisions,” Kightlinger said, referencing the Twin Tunnels Project.