The board of the Sonoma County Water Agency Tuesday formally voted to pull the plug on a water delivery project that had been projected to cost more than $600 million.

The agency has been seeking permission to increase its annual water allotment from the Russian River, and would have needed to spend the $600 million on infrastructure that would have included new pipes, collector wells and a pipeline, to deliver the water to its customers.

Faced with adverse federal environmental rulings on the fate of salmon and other fish in the river, the agency has instead determined to focus on preserving its existing water rights on the Russian River, and to generate needed supplies through more aggressive conservation, greater use of recycled water, and enhanced local supplies, according to a news release issued by the agency.

“In simple terms, the question is should we jeopardize the water we have by asking for more? Or secure the water rights we have by delaying our ask for more? Our first priority must be securing our existing rights,” SCWA chairman Paul Kelley said in a statement.

“We need to invest in implementing sustainable strategies to guarantee water supply for current and future generations,” said agency director Shirlee Zane.

Subscribe Now

Independent and authoritative analysis and perspective for the bond buying industry.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.