Westlands Water District backs, finances tunnel plan for Central Valley

FIVE POINTS, Calif. - The Westlands Water District, which supplies water for 600,000 acres of crops in California's Central Valley, has for years made its presence known in the state's water wars.

As the nation's largest federal irrigation district, Westlands has filed numerous lawsuits against environmental regulations that cut into water supplies for its wealthy growers.

Now the district has become one of the loudest proponents and top financiers for the controversial $14 billion twin tunnel project that would provide a new avenue for shipping water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta south to farms and cities.

Westlands farmers say the project would put an end to years of low water deliveries.

Critics say the tunnels could further harm the fragile delta ecosystem and cost taxpayers billions of dollars.

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