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Lawsuit Filed to Halt Canal Project That Could Threaten Wetlands

There's a new lawsuit challenging a plan to line part of the All-American Canal with concrete. The 80-mile long canal brings Colorado River water to San Diego and Imperial Counties. KPBS reporter Ed J

Lawsuit Filed to Halt Canal Project That Could Threaten Wetlands

There's a new lawsuit challenging a plan to line part of the All-American Canal with concrete. The 80-mile long canal brings Colorado River water to San Diego and Imperial Counties. KPBS reporter Ed Joyce has details.

Water officials want to line a 23-mile stretch of the irrigation canal with concrete to block leaks and save water. The San Diego County Water Authority says lining the canal will save enough water to meet the needs of half-a-million people each year for more than a century. Lawsuits challenging the plan were dismissed last month. But a new lawsuit now seeks to stop the project.

Kevin Kelley is with the Imperial Irrigation District, which operates the canal.

Kelley : The briefing that we, that our board received yesterday, is: this is a new challenge, but we don't expect it to delay the project further.

Kelley says construction is expected to start next month. Several groups claim the project could harm a fragile wetland area and leave many villages in the Mexicali Valley south of the border without water. Those villages have relied on the seeping water from the earthen canal for decades.

Ed Joyce, KPBS News.