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Southern California Water Agency Moves To Purchase Delta Land

Credit / Metropolitan Water District of Southern California
 

Credit / Metropolitan Water District of Southern California

The board of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California voted to negotiate options to purchase 20,000 acres on five islands in the hub of California’s water system, the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. MWD, along with three Kern County water agencies, would purchase the properties from Delta Wetland Properties.

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This image shows the location of the islands in the Delta. Credit / Metropolitan Water District of California

MWD General Manager Jeff Kightlinger says the agencies want a more stable water supply. 

“We know our long-term water supply reliability is going to be based on getting Delta species, particularly fish, in a better place than they are today. So we’re looking at way to do that," says Kightlinger. "We believe the best approach to do that is by restoration of habitat."

But critics say the purchase is about forging ahead with the proposed Delta tunnels project.

“If they really cared about Delta fisheries and the Delta as a region they would have put their money into properly screening the pumps at Tracy 20 years ago as they had been asked to do," says Barbara-Barrigan Parilla with Restore the Delta. 

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Powerpoint pressentation showing some potential benefits of purchasing the islands. Credit / Metropolitan Water District of California.

The price hasn’t been negotiated but could be around $200 million. The islands include Bacon, Bouldin, Holland Tract, Webb Tract, and Chipps. MWD wants to try to close a deal to get an option on a one-year purchase of the islands in the next few weeks. 

 

Amy Quinton

Environment Reporter

Amy came to Sacramento from New Hampshire Public Radio (NHPR) where she was Environment Reporter. Amy has also reported for NPR member stations WFAE in Charlotte, WAMU in Washington D.C. and American Public Media's "Marketplace."  Read Full Bio