Rich farmers say they won’t pay their fair share for Delta tunnels

Who cares if you’re thirsty?

Farmers are used to getting lots of things for nothing…that’s why the governor’s proposed Delta tunnels ran into a roomful of skeptics Monday – an influential group of rich San Joaquin Valley farmers who remain unconvinced the controversial project will deliver the water they need at a price they’re prepared to swallow.

Three weeks after the tunnels received a crucial green light from federal environmental regulators, the $17.1 billion project got a cool reception from nearly 100 growers who farm in the powerful Westlands Water District. Provided with detailed financial projections at a Westlands board meeting for the first time, the farmers suggested they aren’t ready to sign onto the plan.

After a decade of preliminary planning, Westlands and other water agencies south of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta are beginning to drill into the details of the tunnels plan, in the expectation of deciding in September whether to invest the billions needed to make the project a reality. While the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California – which serves millions of urban customers – is expected to sign onto the project, the sprawling Westlands district, which serves portions of Fresno and Kings counties, has showed more reluctance.

Without Westlands’ support, the tunnels’ fate would become far more uncertain. Since they’ve been gaming the system for decades, asking them to pay their fair share may be just too much to expect.

Source: The Sacramento Bee

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