Project would raise water bills and property taxes from $2,000 to $4,500 per household but provide no additional water to Los Angeles
LOS ANGELES—Food & Water Watch, the Sierra Club, Northridge South Neighborhood Council, North Hollywood North East Neighborhood Council, Southern California Watershed Alliance, the Westside Neighborhood Council and the East Los Angeles Community Corporation oppose Governor Brown’s massive twin-tunnels project that he endorsed today as part of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan.
The tunnel project is estimated to cost from $24 to over $50 billion and would force higher water bills and property taxes in Los Angeles and throughout southern California.
“At a time when Los Angeles is becoming more water efficient and using less water from the Delta, this twin-tunnel project would raise water bills and property taxes on Los Angeles homeowners and small businesses by at least $2,000 to subsidize more water for large corporate agribusinesses in Kern County and the Westlands Water District,” said Food & Water Watch California Director Adam Scow. “This plan is fundamentally unfair to Los Angeles taxpayers and ratepayers.”
The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s water plan calls for reducing its purchase of imported water from the Delta by 30 percent and increasing its local water supply through cost-effective measures such as replacing aging water pipes, cleaning groundwater, and expanding water recycling. Yet large corporate agribusinesses in Kern County and the Westlands Water District support the tunnels on the condition that they will secure massive amounts of water from the Delta for themselves and continue to be subsidized by taxpayers and ratepayers in Los Angeles and throughout southern California.
“It’s wrong and unfair for Los Angeles ratepayers to subsidize new tunnels for corporate interests when we already need to invest billions in fixing and upgrading our local water infrastructure,” said Ed Begley, actor and environmental advocate. “We need to clean our local water supply and create local jobs – not waste billions on a wasteful tunnel project.”
An independent cost-estimate of the tunnels done by ECONorthwest shows that LADWP would need to increase water bills from $7-15 per month for over 40 years or $2000-$4,500 per household to fund its cost share of the tunnels. Furthermore, with rising energy prices, delays, and cost overruns – common in large-scale construction projects – the costs to Angelinos could be significantly higher. ECONorthwest projects that the real cost of constructing the tunnels would be $17 billion in 2017, the earliest year that construction would begin.
Leaders from two influential neighborhoods called on Mayor Garcetti to oppose the tunnels project and prioritize investments that would fix LADWP’s aging water infrastructure.
“The North Hollywood North East Neighborhood Council, representing 25,000 residents, opposes the twin-tunnels – a project that would raise our water bills and property taxes but deliver no additional water,” said Board President Ernie Moscoso. “We call on Mayor Garcetti and the City Council to oppose this unfair tunnel tax and prioritize investments that expand our local water supply.”
“In a tough economy, we know that ratepayers can only afford to pay so much,” said Chris Sales, Board President of the Northridge South Neighborhood Council. “The Northridge South Neighborhood Council, which represents 20,000 Angelenos, encourages Mayor Garcetti and the City Council to oppose this wasteful project and prioritize investments that create local jobs and protect our environment.”
LADWP has projected that billions of dollars are needed to replace its aging system of pipes and water mains, and billions more to expand water recycling and to clean a large aquifer in the San Fernando Valley. A recent poll from the L.A. Times showed that when told about the costs of the tunnels a majority of Californians opposed the project.
“This project is an unfair tunnel tax will raise our water bills but give us no new water,” said Conner Everts, Executive Director of Southern California Watershed Alliance. “Los Angeles needs to invest in local infrastructure and local jobs first.”
Californians for a Fair Water Policy is a statewide coalition of ratepayers, environmentalists, farmers, businesses and fisherman are opposed to the tunnels project because of the severe negative impacts on California ratepayers, taxpayers, wild salmon and the San Francisco Bay Delta’s ecosystem. Learn more at www.stopthetunnels.org.
Contact: Anna Ghosh, 510-922-0075
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