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Inland Feeder Project

At a cost of over $1.2 billion the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California is the midst of a decade long effort to acquire more water for Southern California. The inland feeder project encompasses 19 miles of 12’ diameter tunnels in three segments through the San Bernardino mountains, and 25 miles of pipelines. The project will pull water from Northern California and feed into the Diamond Valley Lake and existing groundwater aquifers, and is designed to provide up to 646 millions gallons of water a day to Southern California.

The project began in 1997 but was suspended due to excessive water infiltration into the drilled tunnels. In 2002 a redesigned tunnel incorporating a new drilling technique and a custom designed culvert was bid for $242 million. According to the contractor, this new tunnels are designed to withstand 900 ft of hydrostatic water pressure, a standard no tunnel in the world has ever had to meet. Adding to the difficulty, the tunnels cross several branches of the San Andreas fault lines. Recent mudslides and heavy rains have pushed back the original completion date of 2007.