Delta tunnels

USFWS Pacific Southwest Region / Flickr

California’s largest water district has given key support to a 17-billion-dollar water project, long sought by Governor Jerry Brown. The vote Tuesday would fund twin tunnels under the Sacramento San Joaquin Delta, which will send water to Central and Southern California.

The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California agreed to take on about two-thirds of the cost of the giant project. It calls for two forty-foot-wide, 35-mile-long pipes to extend under the Delta, carrying water from the northern end that can be pumped south and east.

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The proposed delta water tunnels are again in the news, as supporters and opponents redouble their efforts on the massive project.

The tunnels would bring Sacramento River water directly to irrigation pumps, bypassing the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

Pacific Southwest Region USFWS / Flickr, Creative Commons

California Governor Jerry Brown’s plan to build dual tunnels under the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta could face a significant new hurdle—voters.

The Secretary of State’s office announced Monday that a constitutional initiative proposed by a wealthy Stockton-area farmer has qualified for the 2016 ballot.

The measure would require a statewide vote before a state agency could take out any bond of more than $2 billion for a public works project. Opponents of the initiative say requiring statewide votes will tie up projects and erode local control.

Center for Lakes and Reservoirs / Flickr, Creative Commons


Critics of the proposed Delta Bypass irrigation tunnels lashed out at the latest changes Monday, which separate the tunnels from protecting the Delta’s ecology. Those “co-equal” goals, part of the original enabling legislation, called for improved water quality and reliability for those south of the Delta and improving habitat for the endangered species living in it.