California's controversial Waterfix project, estimated to cost over $16 billion, is facing a new legal challenge from a few cities and counties as well a environmental groups. The Waterfix project will basically reroute water from the Sacramento river delta all the way down to the Bay Area and even to Southern California.
The project involves diverting water and constructing two massive aqueducts, each 30 miles long and 40 feet in diameter. Naturally, environmental and agricultural groups in northern California are none too pleased about the plan as the state has been facing critical water shortages and droughts. But rather than speaking to those concerns, the lawsuit alleges that the responsible agencies have colluded behind closed doors, to the detriment of the public, to ensure the project will move forward.
Secret Agency Meetings
Most people might not be too disturbed by the fact that allegedly secret meetings were held between the responsible government agencies about getting the project approved. But, the lawsuit clearly explains that once the hearing process started, those meetings violated Gov. Code Sec. 11430.10-11430.80 as ex parte communications.
The lawsuit claims that the public and those who use or rely on the Sacramento river waters, are being denied their right to be informed, as well as the right to a fair hearing on the environmental impact of the Waterfix project. It is alleged that the meetings are obvious evidence of deliberate obstruction and collusion.
The hearing process to get the aqueduct approved wouldn't be completed until later this year, but if this court challenge is successful, it could set the timeline back even further. Funding issues are also compounding as many of the beneficiary water districts have refused to endorse the project, leaving the project short billions.