NEWS WORTH NOTING: LA Ratepayer’s Advocate report on WaterFix 1 and 2 tunnel costs; Latino leaders convene in Sacramento to develop water policy knowledge; Isabella Dam groundbreaking ceremony marks beginning of Phase II construction

Los Angeles OPA/Ratepayer Advocate report on WaterFix one and two tunnel costs to ratepayers

From the Los Angeles OPA/Ratepayer Advocate:

CONCLUSION: In the 2017 OPA report, the average surcharge to the Los Angeles median household was $1.73 per month ($1.78 in 2018$). This updated report finds that the average surcharge for WaterFix Stage 1 with one tunnel has increased by 7% to $1.90 per month. If MWD commits to two tunnels the average cost increases to $2.52 per month, with a range of $0.95 to $6.78. Among other variables, the range of costs depends on how much of the second tunnel water supply is transferred. … ”

Read the full report here:  WaterFix Costs to LA Households 9 April 2018 by OPA tabbed

Latino Leaders Convene in Sacramento to Develop Water Policy Knowledge

From Water Education for Latino Leaders (WELL):

Water Education for Latino Leaders (WELL) announces it has successfully held its sixth annual water conference which was attended by over 100 of California’s local Latino elected officials. The conference, held on March 22nd and 23rd, featured a tour of the Sacramento River Delta as well as expert panels and speakers on topics such as water infrastructure investments, flood control, and earthquake and disaster planning.

“Water is one of the most important public policy issues in California, and local elected officials are at the frontlines of managing water policy,” said Victor Griego, President and founder of WELL. “Many local elected officials also go on to serve in state and federal positions and will need to be prepared to address water issues in these new roles. WELL helps to train the next generation of water policy leaders at every level.

WELL’s goal is to educate, engage and empower Latino leaders to build equitable representation in California’s water policy landscape. WELL accomplishes these goals by convening its annual conference and through the recently launched WELL UnTapped Fellowship, a year-long capacity-building program for local Latino elected officials, who receive a comprehensive view of the history, governance, public policy, geography and economics of water in California and apply their knowledge by implementing a water project in their local communities.

Latinos represent 40 percent of California’s population, yet only 2 percent of its water policy professionals. Additionally, data shows again and again that Latino’s are disproportionally affected by shortcomings in California’s water system. Most recently, a study showed that 100,000 Central Valley residents in California do not have access to clean drinking water, 57% of which, are Latino.

It is with this backdrop in mind that WELL was formed in 2012 to educate, engage and empower Latino lawmakers to build a sustainable water future for all Californians. WELL believes that through leadership and action, California can effectively and responsibly manage its limited water resources and combat the growing threat of climate change. For more information, visit: LatinosForWater.org.

Isabella Dam groundbreaking ceremony marks beginning of Phase II construction

From the Army Corps of Engineers:

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District hosted a groundbreaking ceremony April 3 to mark the beginning of the second phase of construction for the Isabella Dam Safety Modification Project in Kern County.

Representative Kevin McCarthy, California’s 23rd Congressional District, and Kern County 1st District Supervisor Mick Gleason joined the Corps’ South Pacific Division Commander Brig. Gen. Peter Helmlinger and Sacramento District Commander Col. David Ray, as well as other senior officials from the Corps and the U.S. Forest Service, to mark the milestone.

While phase I relocated necessary facilities out of the way, phase II is when one of the nation’s most at-risk dam facilities will begin its major upgrade.

Construction crews will raise both the main and auxiliary dams 16 feet to help minimize the risk of overtopping, add filters and drainage to both dams to increase dam stability, construct improvements to the existing spillway, and build a new 300-foot-wide emergency spillway.

“This is the largest Civil Works construction project in the South Pacific Division,” said Brig. Gen. Peter Helmlinger, “with a total project cost of more than $600 million dollars. It demonstrates the Corps’ continuing commitment to deliver our Civil Works program through the design and construction of vital infrastructure.”

Rep. McCarthy is eager to see the benefit of the Corps’ commitment at Isabella.

“What I want us to do is to focus on what the future will bring,” remarked Rep. McCarthy, with Isabella Lake as his backdrop. “This is a beautiful view behind us and it’s only going to get better. The water is going to be higher, the amount of recreation will be greater, and the protection will be even stronger.”

Phase I of the project was completed in Fall 2017 with the completion of two U.S. Forest Service facilities – an administrative building and warehouse in Kernville, and a fire station in Lake Isabella – to replace the former facilities that sit in the project’s excavation footprint.

Completed in 1953, Isabella Lake Dam is located approximately 40 miles northeast of Bakersfield. The reservoir is impounded by two earthen dams on the Kern River and Hot Springs Valley. Today, Isabella Lake and its dams reduce flood risk for Bakersfield and the surrounding region, and is a primary water source for water users throughout Kern County. The Isabella Lake Dam Safety Modification Project will address overtopping, seismic and seepage issues identified with Isabella Lake’s Main and Auxiliary dams to reduce the likelihood of dam failure.

In September 2017, the Corps awarded a $204 million contract to Flatiron/Dragados/Sukut Joint Venture of Benicia, California, to construct the modifications and the project is expected to be complete in 2022.

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About News Worth Noting:  News Worth Noting is a collection of press releases, media statements, and other materials produced by federal, state, and local government agencies, water agencies, and academic institutions, as well as non-profit and advocacy organizations.  News Worth Noting also includes relevant legislator statements and environmental policy and legal analyses that are publicly released by law firms.  If your agency or organization has an item you would like included here, please email it to Maven.

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