The report looks strictly at the cost of the tunnels in the Bay Delta Conservation Plan. The proposed tunnels would send water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to central and southern California. The study says water contractors will pay between $1.8 billion and $2.5 billion dollars a year under a best and worst case scenario.
It also says construction overruns, environmental regulations and climate change are among the factors that could change the project’s affordability.
Brent Walthall is with the Kern County Water Agency, one of the largest agricultural water users in the state.
“Any project of this size has risk," says Walthall. "All of our farmers will have to determine that risk for themselves and decide whether or not they want to proceed.”
Opponents point out that these costs are in addition to the price users already pay for water deliveries. They say farmers could face bankruptcy in a drought under the plan.
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