Study: California’s Delta Tunnels Plan Makes Economic Sense

Courthouse News Service –

The $11 billion first leg of California’s plan to divert water from its largest delta will pay dividends for cities and farmers and improve water quality, according to a state-sponsored study released Tuesday.

The long-awaited cost-benefit analysis, conducted by a University of California, Berkeley professor, concludes that it’s worth it for water suppliers to foot the bill for the ambitious public works project touted by Gov. Jerry Brown. It finds “under all scenarios analyzed” that the California WaterFix or “delta tunnels” would benefit stakeholders and provide billions in net benefits.

Contracted by the California Department of Water Resources, natural resources professor David Sunding echoes Brown and other proponents’ familiar talking points by claiming that the mammoth water project is more feasible than alternatives.

“Without WaterFix, State Water Project contractors will see the continued deterioration of their water supply reliability,” Sunding said in a statement. “This analysis shows there is substantial benefit for both urban and agricultural water users throughout the state, and that the project will be more affordable for consumers than local alternatives such as desalination and recycling.”

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