Delta tunnels consultant was paid millions, but auditor says the firm wasn’t qualified

The California Department of Food and Agriculture reports that in 2015, California exported 26 percent of its agricultural production by volume, accounting for $20.69 billion in value.

Audit delivers another hit to California tunnels project

“We have to look at all of our options moving forward to provide an adequate water supply as our county continues to grow,” Varela said.Notify me of new posts via email.

California farm exports help agriculture, but at what cost?

Body camera footage from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department taken during the shooting on Oct. 1.
Then on Oct. 17, the Santa Clara Valley Water District, whose costs could range from $600 million to $1 billion, is set to vote. But the agency’s chairman said Thursday that it may now delay that vote.

Critical Audit Another Hit To $16 Billion Delta Tunnels Project

(Bob Pepping/Bay Area News Group Archives)

According to the audit, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and other contractors involved in WaterFix wanted Hallmark to replace a manager who was not working full time on the project.

Credits: EPA, Getty, Hillary Guzik, KTLA, Sarya StukesThe new manager was hired not for engineering expertise, state officials said, but to control costs. Other consultants were in charge of engineering. The state said Hallmark cut the number of staff by 40 percent and reduced costs by 65 percent.

The unexpected complexity of the project has resulted in significant delays and cost increases, auditors said. As of June, planning costs alone had reached $280 million, double the department’s initial 2009 cost estimate.

A boater appears to be driving away from a rainbow where the Antioch bridge can be seen along the Sacramento/San Joaquin Delta in Antioch, Calif., on Sunday, Oct. 16, 2016. In Irish mythology, the pot of gold is hidden at the end of a rainbow by a small member of the fairy family called the leprechaun, according to reference.com. (Susan Tripp Pollard/Bay Area News Group)

Peter Drekmeier serves as Policy Director for the Tuolumne River Trust, peter@tuolumne.org.

Story by Associated Press writer Don Thompson

The audit is the latest blow to Brown’s plan to build twin tunnels east of San Francisco to deliver water from the Sacramento River mostly to farms and cities hundreds of miles away in central and Southern California. Last month, the nation’s largest supplier of irrigation water to farms voted not to help fund the project.

Sacramento Bee photographers found a few people willing to tell us why they are homeless.“They (the state) would have known that years earlier and adjusted the project or the plan accordingly,” Michael said. “To say we have to wait until the end to see who is in and out, it’s bad government.”

The audit suggests state officials should have already done a full financial study to answer basic questions like whether the tunnels should be built at all, and whether they will benefit California as a whole. That work has been started but never finished.
A Contra Costa County sheriff's boat makes a wake through the the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta near Discovery Bay, Calif., on Tuesday, June 13, 2017. Deputy Doug Powell with the Contra Costa County sheriff's office warns boaters that the Delta can be unpredictable with currents, cold temperatures and boaters no knowing the rules on the water. (Susan Tripp Pollard/Bay Area News Group)Last month, the board of the Westlands Water District voted to withdraw its participation from the project. Project backers noted that other water districts have since voted to back the project. The tunnels are vital to skirt the vulnerable Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta and protect imperiled fish and water deliveries to agencies south of the delta, proponents said.

In better news for tunnels supporters, Thursday’s independent audit also found that no state general fund money has been used to date, which is consistent with long-standing promises that only those who benefit from the tunnels will pay for them.

The audit further concluded that the state Department of Water Resources “did not follow state law” when it replaced a key program manager on the project with a company that it hired without a competitive bidding process and which was run by somebody without an engineering degree.Brown’s office referred a request for comment to the Department of Water Resources.“We represent 2 million people,” Varela said. “We want to be certain that what we do as a board is not going to have a major financial impact on our ratepayers. We want to be fair to them. That is our biggest concern.”

A kayaking tour group is spotted on the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, each wearing a personal flotation device near Bethel Island, Calif., on Tuesday, June 13, 2017. Doug Powell, Deputy with the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office, said two recent deaths from drowning on the Delta could have been prevented if personal flotation devices or a life ring were easily accessible. (Susan Tripp Pollard/Bay Area News Group)

NATIONLas Vegas shooting victims: Portraits of the fallen L.A. Now California: This just in LOCAL L.A. Now State auditor faults handling of delta tunnels planning contracts Katie Falkenberg / Los Angeles Times A state audit found that the Department of Water Resources didn’t follow proper procedures in awarding planning contracts for California WaterFix, a proposed tunnel project in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. A state audit found that the Department of Water Resources didn’t follow proper procedures in awarding planning contracts for California WaterFix, a proposed tunnel project in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. (Katie Falkenberg / Los Angeles Times) Bettina BoxallContact Reporter California water managers awarded a multimillion-dollar contract to a Sacramento consulting firm without going through the required competitive bidding process, according to the state auditor.Department spokeswoman Erin Mellon said in an email that officials will consider auditors’ recommendations, but the audit validates the exhaustive work the department has done to propose the best project for California.Hallmark’s primary goal was cost-control, where it has done an outstanding job, officials wrote.

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