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Price Tag for California Water Plan: $25 Billion

Aired 5/30/13 on KPBS News.

The plan to restore habitat in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and provide a reliable water supply in California is expected to cost about 25-billion dollars.

The plan to restore habitat in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and provide a reliable water supply in California is expected to cost about 25-billion dollars.

The 50-year cost estimate was released Wednesday as part of the final chapters of Governor Jerry Brown's Bay Delta Conservation Plan. The cost, in 2012 dollars, includes the design, construction and operation of twin tunnels that would pump water from the Delta to central and southern California.

Water users would pay about 70-percent of the total cost. Dr. David Sunding wrote an analysis of the costs of the plan. He said the project is expensive, but worth the investment.

"The combination of water supply, water quality and reduced seismic risks produces benefits that are 35 to 40-percent in excess of the cost, so that's a reasonable rate of return on a water investment," Sunding said.

Administrators stressed that the plan is not final. A formal public review of the draft is expected to begin October 1st.

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