This memo describes how the state would manage the twin tunnels project: By working alongside the water agencies that expect to use the tunnels.
The memo, by Department of Water Resources Director Mark Cowin, describes setting up a new “BDCP Office” to oversee aspects of the plan separate from the tunnels themselves, such as habitat restoration.
The tunnels, on the other hand, would be pursued by an entity called the “Delta Conveyance Facility Design and Construction Enterprise.” This group would be run by a program manager under contract to DWR, and staffed by DWR employees, private consultants and representatives of the water districts that would receive water from the tunnels.
The new plan is immediately drawing fire. Stockton environmentalist Bill Jennings said today that the plan appears to be a way to shift some of the administrative costs of the project from the water users to the taxpayers.
“It appears that Mark Cowin is saying, ‘If the contractors don’t want to pay for it, that’s OK, we’ll do it anyway,’” Jennings said. “It raises suspicion that as BDCP runs out of money, DWR is going to pick up the slack with public funds.”