Meet the New Entity in Charge of #California’s Water Tunnels Project

From Water Deeply (Matt Weiser):

The local water agencies that stand to benefit from California’s WaterFix tunnels project have formed a new joint powers authority to oversee construction. Here’s a look at how that will work.

The local water agencies that stand to benefit from the tunnels have formed a joint powers authority (JPA) to oversee construction, rather than let the Department of Water Resources handle that, as it has historically.

Local governments have formed hundreds of JPAs for various municipal purposes. But this is a new undertaking for a massive state-owned water project.

WaterFix includes two giant tunnels, each 35 miles long, which will divert water from the Sacramento River, the state’s largest river. Three massive new intakes along the river, near the town of Courtland, would siphon water into the tunnels, then to existing state and federal canals near the city of Tracy.

The goal is to reduce harm to endangered fish species in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, caused in part by existing water diversion plumbing. The project remains hugely controversial among environmental groups and local residents in and around the Delta, who are concerned it will disrupt the sensitive estuary and not live up to its promise of helping native fish.

Adding to their anxiety is the new joint powers authority. Officially called the Delta Conveyance Design and Construction Authority.

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