SoCal Waterworks nabs NorCal Delta Islands for $175M

The agency has been in negotiations for months to purchase 20,370 acres of property owned by Delta Wetlands Properties in Contra Costa, San Joaquin, and Solano counties.

Bay Delta Source:Courthouse News
Bay Delta Source:Courthouse News

LOS ANGELES, April 12, 2016 -- A powerful Southern California water agency and the largest distributor of treated drinking water in the nation is moving forward with the $175 million purchase of four islands in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.
The purchase and sale agreement between the Metropolitan District of Southern California and Delta Wetlands Properties was executed this past Friday, the agency said. Last month, the agency's board of directors authorized general manager Jeffrey Kightlinger to enter into a contract with the islands' owner.
"As discussed at our board meeting on March 8, 2016, staff continues its due diligence on the property and will report back to the board," Kightlinger wrote in an email sent to the board and shared with Courthouse News.
Metropolitan delivers an average of 1.7 billion gallons of water each day to more than 19 million people in the counties of Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego and Ventura.
The agency has been in negotiations for months to purchase 20,370 acres of property owned by Delta Wetlands Properties in Contra Costa, San Joaquin, and Solano counties.
Zurich Insurance Group owns Delta Wetlands Properties, which in turn owns or partially owns four islands: Bacon and Bouldin Islands and the Holland and Webb Tracts. In addition, the property company owns part of Chipps Island.
The agency says the purchase will allow the district to transfer water and create storage, provide emergency fresh water in the event of an earthquake, and complement Gov. Jerry Brown's California WaterFix project in the delta.
Brown's $25 billion plan calls for two tunnels up to 150 feet beneath the delta and three new intakes with 3,000 cubic-feet-per-second capacity and an average annual yield of 4.9 million acre-feet.
Metropolitan says the purchase has several environmental benefits including habitat restoration and reduction of greenhouse gas pollution.
The board is scheduled to vote on the proposed deal on April 26.

More in Drinking Water