SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration announced Wednesday that it was scaling back his troubled four-decade effort to redo California’s north-south water system, cutting plans to build giant water tunnels from two to one.
Reducing the number of tunnels — at least for now — would help with California’s quest to line up enough funding and ease environmental concerns over tapping directly into the state’s largest river, officials said.
Supporters also hope the trimmed-down project will have a better chance of winning approval before the 79-year-old governor leaves office in January. The single tunnel still would be California’s biggest water project in decades.
The tunnel would pipe water from Northern California through a four-story-high tunnel. Los Angeles’ giant Metropolitan Water District and its millions of urban customers are expected to be some of the main beneficiaries.
California water districts had balked at the $16 billion cost of the two tunnels, stalling that version late last year.