In his first State of the State Address in February, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced his support of a one-tunnel approach to water conveyance in the Delta. In early May, the Department of Water Resources withdrew proposed permits for California WaterFix. It will begin a new environmental review process for a new single-tunnel Delta conveyance solution. Metropolitan intends to work constructively with the Newsom Administration on developing a refined project that addresses the needs of cities, farms and the environment.
In July 2018, the Department of Water Resources submitted documents to the Delta Stewardship Council finding that California WaterFix is consistent with the Delta Plan’s coequal goals of providing a more reliable water supply for California and protecting, restoring and enhancing the Delta ecosystem.
Nine appeals to DWR’s consistency determination were filed by 26 individuals, counties, agencies, and organizations alleging the project is inconsistent with the Delta Plan and will have an adverse impact on one or both of the coequal goals.
The DSC held a hearing in October to hear public comment regarding the appeals that challenged the ability of the California WaterFix project to move forward and begin construction.
In November, DSC staff made a draft determination that the project is not aligned to the Delta Plan. DWR ultimately withdrew the determination and indicated that it would work with the DSC to resolve issues related to the interpretation of the Delta Plan and submit a revised certification.
Metropolitan’s board approved additional financing needed for the full construction of the California WaterFix project, making Metropolitan the primary investor of the project. The district took a similar vote in April. However, following that action, two organizations sent a notice alleging violations of the Brown Act, a state law ensuring open access and transparency in public meetings. Although Metropolitan sent a notice disagreeing with its legal conclusion, the board voted on the matter again to ensure there was no question regarding the validity of the board’s consideration of the increased funding for California WaterFix. In September 2018, the two organizations filed an action challenging the validity of the Metropolitan Board’s July 10, 2018 vote on California WaterFix. In March 2019, a Los Angeles County Superior Court issued a ruling that will dismiss the case in its entirety following the submission of a proposed judgment by Metropolitan and the San Diego County Water Authority.
Metropolitan’s Response to Alleged Brown Act Violation:Notice Response to Notice Memo to Board of Directors
Request for Brown Act Training:Request Response
Response to the Public Records Act request for communications relating to the 4/10/19 board action:First production Second Production Third Production
- Jeffrey Kightlinger, Metropolitan General Manager
Metropolitan’s board approved additional financing necessary to allow for the construction of the full California WaterFix project. Metropolitan’s share is about $10.8 billion, making Metropolitan the primary investor and more than doubling the agency’s initially planned investment to ensure the project is completed as originally proposed and studied. The action followed a series of public meetings to review different components of California WaterFix, including the physical project, the proposed water operations and key financial issues. A listing of letters and resolutions submitted to Metropolitan can be found here.
Metropolitan’s board approved the district’s 26 percent share of California WaterFix financing as well as moving forward on a governance structure to build and finance the $17 billion project. Metropolitan’s share is about $4.3 billion.
Near the end of 2016, the final environmental analysis for the California WaterFix project was published, representing a decade of scientific study, analysis and public input. The next milestone in the decision-making process was the release of biological opinions by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service on June 26, which showed the project’s effects on endangered species. This opinion will be followed by the release of the federal Record of Decision and the state’s Notice of Decision, which would allow the project to proceed.
The materials below are designed to educate and inform Southern Californians on the Delta conveyance project.
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