In the News

New questions over California water project

Critics said the government funding described by the Los Angeles-based Metropolitan Water District on Thursday could run counter to longstanding state assurances that various local water districts, not California itself, would pay for Brown’s vision of digging twin 35-mile-long tunnels to carry water from the Sacramento River south, mainly for Central and Southern California. The $248 million in preliminary spending for the tunnels, which have yet to win regulatory approval, already is the topic of an ongoing federal audit. On Wednesday, state lawmakers ordered a state audit of the tunnels-spending as well.

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Delta tunnels don’t pencil out, UOP economist says

Metropolitan Water District sued

The Metropolitan Water District has been sued over the multi million-dollar purchase of five islands in the Sacramento River Delta.

Two Northern California counties, two water districts and two environmental groups filed suit on Thursday.  Brenna Norton with Food and Water Watch, one of plaintiffs, says:

“This is really they effort to push through a much bigger water project that has been approved by the state.  In attempting to push through a 67-billion dollar Delta tunnel project that could cost Southern California taxpayers and ratepayers billions of dollars including future liabilities.”

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Water wars between San Diego and MWD boil up again

Twenty-five years ago, the San Diego County Water Authority, the organization that provides water to the region’s 24 water districts, decided its water supplies had become a bit too iffy during a severe drought and set about diversifying its sources of supply.

The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, the county water authority’s main supplier, felt dissed when its largest customer publicly questioned the reliability of its services.

According to a San Diego Union-Tribune editorial, the water authority has been persona non grata with the MWD ever since.

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Groups sue to block south state water district’s purchase of Delta islands

Just days after a powerful Southern California water agency announced it was spending $175 million to buy five islands in the heart of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, a coalition of opponents has sued to demand environmental review of the purchase.

The lawsuit was filed Thursday in San Joaquin Superior Court by San Joaquin and Contra Costa counties, the Central Delta and Contra Costa water agencies, and two environmental groups. It alleges the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California improperly exempted itself from the state environmental review process while the purchase agreement was being hashed out.

Escrow on the sale is expected to close in early June. The lawsuit asks that the purchase be put on hold until a thorough environmental review has been conducted.

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Metropolitan Water District’s Delta Islands purchase challenged by lawsuit

“People need to understand that MWD is not acting in the best interest of Southern Californians – it is only furthering their position as a water broker to import water to cities and utilities,” said Adam Scow, the California Director of Food and Water Watch, at the noon rally. “In fact, the Cities of Los Angeles and Santa Monica both voted against the deal.”

On the lawn of Cesar Chavez Park in downtown Stockton on April 14, representatives of environmental groups, two Delta counties and Delta farmers gathered to announce the filing of a lawsuit challenging the Metropolitan Water District (MWD) of Southern California’s purchase of four Delta islands to facilitate the construction of Governor Jerry Brown’s Delta Tunnels.

Food & Water Watch, the Planning and Conservation League, San Joaquin County, Contra Costa County, the Contra Costa Water Agency and the Central Delta Water Agency filed suit in San Joaquin Superior Court Thursday afternoon, alleging that MWD’s claim of complete exemption from environmental review for the proposed purchase of 20,000 acres of Delta islands and farmland is “illegal and unjustified.”

The lawsuit asks the Judge to enjoin the powerful Southern California water agency from purchasing the property unless and until it completes the environmental review required under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), one of the state’s landmark environmental laws.

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Metropolitan Water District’s $175 million land deal raises alarms in delta

In a multimillion-dollar deal, Southern California’s major water provider is acquiring five tracts of land in the heart of the Sacramento Delta, where the state is proposing to re-engineer water delivery systems. With the land purchase, the Metropolitan Water District is also raising suspicions among its new neighbors.

Zurich American, a subsidiary of a Swiss insurance company, is selling Metropolitan about 20,000 acres, including Bacon Island, Bouldin Island, Webb Tract, most of Holland Tract and a piece of Chipps Island.

Two of the tracts are in the path of Gov. Jerry Brown’s $17 billion California WaterFix, which would re-plumb the systems connecting Northern California to the thirsty South. The centerpiece of the fix is two tunnels, 50 feet wide, that would act as straws, moving water around and away from the region for the use of thirsty cities and some farmers.

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San Diego facing another water rate hike – MWD votes to increase water prices

Southern California homeowners have seen their water rates go up almost 400 percent in 10 years.

Now another increase voted on by the Metropolitan Water District will raise rates on its prices for 2017 and 2018.  Jason Foster with the San Diego Water Authority says those prices will get passed on to retail water agencies in the San Diego region and then come out of the wallet of local residents and businesses.

“It’s undoubtedly going to be felt by customers throughout San Diego County,” said Foster.

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MWD rate hike harms water authority, San Diegans

It’s been 25 years since the San Diego County Water Authority decided to broadly diversify its supplies. The authority’s experiences dealing with the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California during a severe drought led officials to believe they urgently needed additional sources of water to avoid disaster in a future drought. This triggered a harsh response from the giant water wholesaler. Upset that its largest customer was publicly questioning MWD’s trustworthiness, MWD paid $400,000 to a public relations company for what The Los Angeles Times called a “clandestine effort to discredit San Diego County water leaders.”

The County Water Authority has been the black sheep in the MWD client family ever since — especially since its diversification decision has been vindicated in recent years by how additional supplies have allowed the authority to take the current drought in stride. Once 95 percent dependent on MWD, it now gets less than half its supplies from its nemesis.

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Despite loss in court, water supplier still sticking San Diego with big bills