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Ahead of MWD’s vote on water tunnel project tomorrow, we re-debate the pros/cons

People line the banks of the Sacramento River May 24, 2007 in Rio Vista, California.
People line the banks of the Sacramento River May 24, 2007 in Rio Vista, California.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

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The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California will vote on Tuesday on a major water infrastructure project under the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

The California WaterFix, as it is officially known, is one of Governor Jerry Brown’s signature projects and seeks to update the state’s aging water infrastructure to ensure a stable water delivery system throughout the state.

The original project, which includes the construction of two water tunnels at a total cost of about $17 billion, suffered a setback from complaints of its extravagant price tag. After much back and forth between different stakeholders, the plan was for the state to construct just a single tunnel. The scaled back version is estimated to cost about $11 billion.

The MWD vote on Tuesday was going to be on the one-tunnel option, but on Friday, the agency abruptly changed its mind and put the two-tunnel option back on the table. Either way, customers with MDW would see an increase on their bills whichever option moves forward.


Bettina Boxall, water issues and environmental reporter for the Los Angeles Times; she tweets @boxall

Robert Hunter, general manager of the Municipal Water District of Orange County (MWDOC)

Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, executive director and cofounder of Restore the Delta, an organization committed to restoring the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to help fisheries and farming thrive

Patrick Cavanaugh, Fresno-based broadcaster with the California Ag Today Radio Network; editor of Vegetables West and Pacific Nut Producer magazines