Water moves quickly but water policy slowly.
For decades, Gov. Jerry Brown has wanted to shore up the State Water Project, the system of canals, pipelines and reservoirs that his father helped create and that now carries Northern California water to Southern California.
In 1982, during Brown’s first stint as governor, he pushed for a big open canal to help ensure water would continue flowing south. Voters didn’t like that idea. Now, toward the end of his career, he’s backing a plan to build a pair of 35-mile underground tunnels instead.
Tuesday is a big day for that plan. That’s when the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California will vote on whether to help pay for it. Without the support of Metropolitan, the tunnels don’t stand a chance.
Last year, we chronicled how the San Diego County Water Authority has seemed to flip-flop on the issue, though the agency has still not taken a formal position on the tunnels.
San Diego can’t kill the project on its own, even if it wanted to. Even if the city of Los Angeles also opposes the project, which its representatives have suggested it might, there are probably enough other water agencies on Metropolitan’s board to carry the project over the finish line, at least initially.