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Southern California Agency Approves Brown Administration's Tunnel Project


Sharon McNary | KPCC

Southern California's largest water supplier - Metropolitan Water District, or MWD - has voted to back the Brown administration's $17 billion project to change how the region receives water from Northern California. 

MWD’s support is critical to the future of the project, representing the biggest urban area to buy in.

Environmentalists and advocates for the poor spoke against building the two 30-mile water tunnels near Sacramento. Labor unions and business people were mainly in favor – Ultimately, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California board voted 28 to six to fund about a quarter of the project.

Some preferred a scaled-back option, but MWD Chairman Randy Record insisted the board vote only on the full version of the delta tunnels.

"It’s important for us to do what we did today to say this is the project, this is our financial investment, this is our limitation, does it make sense for us, yes it does," says Record.

The vote is the largest showing of financial support for the project so far. Other water districts will take their own votes about whether to support the tunnels project in coming weeks.

Then the board will discuss covering the funding gap left by water agencies that say no.

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