Westlands Water District in Hot Water with Securities & Exchange Commission

Sacramento Delta

by Restore the Delta

Stockton, CA - The federal Securities and Exchange Commission charged California’s largest agricultural water district today with misleading investors about its financial condition as it issued a $77 million bond offering, with one of its managers bragging about using “a little Enron accounting.”

California’s largest agricultural water district misled investors who bought $77 million of municipal bonds by using accounting tricks the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said.

Read the SEC decision here.

Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, executive director of Restore the Delta said:

“Westlands Water District has been fined today for doing Enron-style accounting on the sale of water bonds in 2012. Portions of those bonds were used to finance planning of the Delta tunnels project.

“Westlands leadership, however, recently told Fox News in Los Angeles that they can no longer afford to pay for the Delta tunnels project. Clearly, they are no longer in a position to sell bonds for paper water -- because the Delta tunnels will not provide any new water to water exporters.

“Nonetheless, the vote yesterday by Metropolitan Water District of Southern California to purchase Delta islands so as to have a staging sight for construction of the Delta tunnels indicates that water exporters are so desperate to push the project through that they will continue to push it forward even without a viable funding plan. The question now is if Southern California and Santa Clara Valley ratepayers are willing to pay not only their share for dry tunnels, but for Westlands growers as well.”

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