By Cariad Hayes Thronson

Spring and summer 2018 saw frenzied activity around California WaterFix, the latest iteration of a decades-long, on-again-of-again effort to convey fresh water from the Sacramento River to the South Delta while bypassing the Delta itself. Governor Jerry Brown has made WaterFix a top priority, but the project – including twin tunnels comprising the largest infrastructure project in state history – still faces a raft of uncertainties. These include the new Bay-Delta Water Quality Control Plan, which sets flow objectives that some perceive as incompatible with the WaterFix, and reinitiated consultations over endangered fish. The uncertainties have not deterred major investors such as the Metropolitan Water District, which scoped out the benefits under various regulatory regimes and still finds the project worthwhile. But criticism remains that the Fix is a 20th century-style fix mismatched with 21st century conditions.

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Recent Milestones for the Twin Tunnels and WaterFix

By Cariad Hayes Thronson

Spring and summer 2018 saw frenzied activity around California WaterFix, the latest iteration of a decades-long, on-again-of-again effort to convey fresh water from the Sacramento River to the South Delta while bypassing the Delta itself. Governor Jerry Brown has made WaterFix a top priority, but the project – including twin tunnels comprising the largest infrastructure project in state history – still faces a raft of uncertainties. These include the new Bay-Delta Water Quality Control Plan, which sets flow objectives that some perceive as incompatible with the WaterFix, and reinitiated consultations over endangered fish. The uncertainties have not deterred major investors such as the Metropolitan Water District, which scoped out the benefits under various regulatory regimes and still finds the project worthwhile. But criticism remains that the Fix is a 20th century-style fix mismatched with 21st century conditions.

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About the author

Cariad Hayes Thronson covers legal and political issues for Estuary News. She has served on the staffs of several national publications, including The American Lawyer. She is a long-time contributor to Estuary News, and some years ago served as its assistant editor. She lives in San Mateo with her husband and two children.