C-WIN/CBD Media Release: Brown Administration Gets Ugly Over State Water Project Contract Extension

   October 13, 2014

For Immediate Release

Brown Administration Gets Ugly Over State Water Project Contract Extension

A proposed Environmental Impact Report on a long-term extension of State Water Project contracts threatens regional and local water agencies with delivery cutbacks if they don’t sign on to the deal.

A coalition of water policy reform advocates is opposing the proposed EIR, characterizing it as an aggressive attempt by the Brown administration to circumvent public input and due process over the disposition of the state’s water. If the contract extension goes through, the current inequitable distribution of State Water Project supplies will stand until 2085, with urban ratepayers shouldering most of the financial burden.

Coalition members observe any contract extension is premature, given that existing contacts will not expire until 2035.

“The administration is presenting local water agencies with a Hobson’s choice,” observed Carolee Krieger, the executive director of the California Water Impact Network. “They must either get behind this ‘deal’ or face the loss of their State Water Project allocations, conveyance capacity and water transfer rights. It is blatant political intimidation, aimed at quashing dissent and consolidating the near monopoly that corporate contractors hold over ‘public’ water.”

Krieger said the contract extension “is the equivalent of being told in the 20th year of your 30 year mortgage that you have to add another 30 years to pay for undisclosed costs, or else you will lose your home.”

Further, the contract extension is being used as a stalking horse for the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP), the Brown administration scheme that would construct two massive water conveyance tunnels through the heart of the Sacramento/San Joaquin Delta. The Twin Tunnels would cost ratepayers $67 billion or more, degrade the biggest and richest estuary on the West Coast, threaten the solvency of hundreds of Delta family farmers, and do nothing to augment state water supplies.

“Even though the administration refuses to evaluate the BDCP in the EIR, it’s all about the Twin Tunnels,” says Adam Keats, Senior Counsel for the Center for Biological Diversity. “This environmental review process essentially constitutes an open line of credit for billions of dollars, with the money coming from ratepayers and taxpayers. Average citizens – who are already economically stressed and overtaxed – will be forced to pay for an undefined list of capital projects with a massive potential for cost overruns.”


The coalition letter may be found at: http://www.c-win.org/webfm_send/452

A letter by the Natural Resources Defense Council on the same issue can be found at: http://www.c-win.org/webfm_send/455



Carolee Krieger, California Water Impact Network (C-WIN) 805-969-0824,   caroleekrieger7@gmail.com

Adam Keats, Center for Biological Diversity 415-436-9682 X304, akeats@biologicaldiversity.org

The California Water Impact Network promotes the equitable and environmental use of California's water, including instream uses, through research, planning, public education, and litigation. www.c-win.org

 The Center for Biological Diversity is a nonprofit conservation organization with more than 775,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places. www.biologicaldiversity.org