Newsom Unveils New $20-Billion Estimate for Delta Tunnel

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration announced that the estimated cost of building a tunnel to transport water beneath the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta has risen to $20.1 billion.

The estimate is part of a new cost-benefit analysis by the California Department of Water Resources, which concluded that the projected benefits of constructing the water tunnel would far outweigh the costs…

Jon Rosenfield, science director for San Francisco Baykeeper, said he believes the state has underestimated the costs of building the tunnel and overestimated the costs of alternatives, such as conservation. He pointed out that state water regulators, after facing criticism, recently proposed conservation rules that would ease requirements for urban suppliers and lead to smaller statewide savings.

“There is a cheaper solution… and they’re not implementing it,” Rosenfield said. “The state is now telling you: We don’t need to save water. We’ll just build you a tunnel and get more water — from an ecosystem that’s collapsing because we take too much water from it.”

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