California proposes building water tunnels in stages14 February 2018
USA - The officials from California governor Jerry Brown’s office have released plans to build the 30 miles (48km) of tunnels for WaterFix (previously known as the Delta Tunnels) in two stages.
In a memo from the State of California’s Department of Resources to participating public water agencies it said the Department of Water Resources (DWR) is proposing to pursue WaterFix as planned, but also take actions that would allow construction to be implemented in stages. “Being prepared to implement this option is directly responsive to the stated needs of participating agencies, and would align project implementation with current funding commitments.”
Under this approach, DWR proposes a first stage to include two intakes, one approximately 40ft- (12m-) diameter tunnel, one intermediate forebay, and one pumping station. The second stage would consist of a third intake, a second tunnel and a second pumping station. If funding for all elements of the currently-proposed WaterFix is not available when construction begins, stage two would begin once additional funding commitments are made from supporting water agencies.
“Being prepared and having the option of a staged implementation of WaterFix is prudent, fiscally responsible and meets the needs of the public water agencies funding the project. It would allow work to begin on WaterFix, as soon as all necessary environmental review and permits are complete, which is anticipated near the end of 2018.”
The overall cost of USD 16.3bn for WaterFix has not changed, the agency said, and the cost of the option of proceeding with the first stage is USD 10.7bn.
DWR will fully evaluate the potential environmental impacts of the staged implementation option and expects to draft a supplemental Environmental Impact Report in June, with a final in October.