STATE OFFICIALS ANNOUNCE DELAY OF THE TUNNELS PROJECT AND PLAN TO RE-RELEASE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT FOR ADDITIONAL PUBLIC COMMENT
A spokesperson for the California Water Resources Department announced Wednesday that the Bay Delta Conversation Project, featuring two diversion tunnels, is being delayed. According to DWR, the delay was triggered by public comments submitted in response to the draft environmental impact report, which revealed that certain areas of the plan required additional study. DWR has not yet identified which aspects of the project will undergo further analysis. A revised document will be re-released for public comment in early 2015.
Although DWR had anticipated obtaining approval of the seven-year-old project in early 2015, this delay in addition to a second public comment period will set back DWR’s hopes for obtaining approval by several months. As currently proposed, the plan calls for digging two 40-foot-wide, 35-mile-long tunnels to draw water from the Sacramento River, with an estimated price tag of $24.7 billion. While DWR has indicated that it possesses sufficient funds to endure a second round of analysis and public comment, it also stated that it may need to seek additional funding from public water agencies.