Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office renewed its commitment on Wednesday to launching California’s biggest water project in half a century, unveiling a newly configured plan for a 45-mile conveyance tunnel through the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.
The estimated $16 billion pipeline, iterations of which have circulated for decades, is designed to better move water from the state’s wet, rural north to drier, more populated points south. The proposed tunnel would allow water shipments to bypass the delta’s sensitive wetlands and aging water infrastructure, thereby protecting and even boosting water supplies for the Bay Area, Southern California and farmland in between.
The idea, however, has faced longtime opposition as well as funding shortfalls. The Newsom administration hopes to clear these hurdles by altering the plans of his predecessors, notably downsizing the project to one tunnel instead of the two proposed by former Gov. Jerry Brown. The project is also routed farther east, close to Interstate 5, where construction would be less of a burden on delta towns.
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