Southern California’s biggest water agency voted Tuesday to shoulder most of the cost of replumbing the troubled center of the state’s vast waterworks, committing nearly $11 billion to the construction of two massive water tunnels.
The approval pushes ahead a controversial infrastructure project that has dominated discussions of how to halt the steep ecological decline of the Sacramento-San Joaquin delta — a decline that has threatened water deliveries to the state’s most populous region.
A top priority of Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration, the tunnels project has been in the planning stages for more than a decade.
The MWD vote does not assure that it will be built. The project has yet to obtain key permits and faces years of legal challenges by opponents who consider it a costly diversion from more-sustainable water development projects such as recycling and storm water capture.
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