The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

The Real Cost of the Water Tunnels

Apr 16, 2018

The Southern California Metropolitan Water District’s Board of Directors recently voted to accept two-thirds of the cost of building two massive water tunnels–a cost that will be paid mostly by the public. The project is as big or bigger than the English Channel Tunnel and Boston’s Big Dig.

State and local officials claim that this project is necessary to secure more water resources for growing population centers, including Los Angeles and San Diego. But the dirty little secret is that in Southern California total water consumption by people and business has actually declined by at least 20 per cent over the last two decades.

No, the real purpose of the water tunnels is to divert much more fresh water from two big rivers in Northern California to the big industrial farms and ranches of the Central Valley. These farms and ranches already suck up 10 times as much water as all 38 million people who live in the entire state. It takes massive amounts of water to produce crops in the middle of bone dry deserts!

The population will pay more and will face huge environmental destruction, especially in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River delta, the largest estuary on the Pacific Coast, all to “irrigate” the profits of the industrial farms and ranches in the South.

Nobody really knows how much these tunnels will cost. Currently, officials claim the price tag is “only” 17 billion dollars. But factoring in long-term financing costs, estimates are that the real cost will range as high as 67 billion dollars. To pay this, the water district may soon impose much, much higher water bills and property taxes on most state households.