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July 25, 2012
New York Times Article Discusses Bay Area Delta Conservation Plan Supported by Study Authored by Brattle Economist

The State of California’s unveiling of a new plan to reconfigure the state’s oversubscribed water distribution system was highlighted in a recent article of The New York Times. The plan, referred to as The Bay Delta Conservation Plan, relied upon a study authored by Brattle principal David Sunding, which examined the benefits of the proposed plan for the state’s urban and agricultural water consumers.

The article, “A New Plan to Fix California Water System,” discusses the $14 billion proposal, which includes the construction of twin 35-mile-long pipelines that would tap water from a location further north on the Sacramento River. The pipelines would deliver water to conveyances in the south and would almost entirely replace the current infrastructure, which pumps water from a more polluted segment of the Sacramento River’s delta. The plan would ensure both that the ecosystem of the Delta would be reinvigorated and that water deliveries from the Delta would become more reliable.

Brattle was commissioned by the state to study the benefits of the plan, specifically for the cities and farms that would be recipients of the Delta water through the new pipelines. Dr. Sunding examined whether the expected benefits are large enough to move forward with the project, and he found that the benefits for consumers outweigh the costs associated with the plan. Dr. Sunding’s analysis identified billions of dollars in benefits from improved water supply, water quality, reduced seismic risks, and regulatory certainty. His report also examined the benefits to the public from creation of over 100,000 acres of new habitat under the plan.

To read the complete article, please visit The New York Times website.