Plans for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Bay-Delta draw questions from San Diego County Water Authority.

LOS ANGELES — The San Diego County Water Authority on May 30 sent a formal letter to state and federal regulators urging them to be more transparent and thorough in explaining the fundamental financial components of a proposed $25 billion project to construct twin water tunnels under the Sacramento-San Joaquin Bay-Delta.

The letter asked that draft environmental documents for the Bay Delta Conservation Plan be expanded to include enough information for water agencies to assess both costs and benefits. The authority also requested more details about how much water would result from the project and pressed for greater inclusion of all water contractors to ensure balanced implementation of whatever strategy is adopted.

"A healthy Bay-Delta is important for all of California," Maureen Stapleton, SDCWA general manager said in a prepared statement. "It's imperative to the success of any project that critical, unanswered financial issues are addressed before moving forward. We must be able to explain to our ratepayers what they are receiving in return for their investment."

As the largest customer of the state's largest water contractor, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, SDCWA and its ratepayers have a major financial stake in the BDCP, a proposal for addressing complex water supply and environmental issues around the Sacramento-San Joaquin Bay-Delta, the letter said.

"Any fixes to the Bay-Delta must be based on detailed cost-benefit analyses and enforceable funding commitments," Stapleton said. "To date, nothing in the BDCP documents confirms that any state or federal water contractor has made a specific commitment to fund the project, which prevents any meaningful cost-benefit analysis or feasibility assessment."

SDCWA is the largest of the MWD's 26 member agencies. MWD, in turn, is the largest state water contractor, and would be expected to pay 25 % or more of the total project's cost.

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