LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and two other water districts that agreed to fund the California Waterfix tunnel project announced today the formation of a public agency that will be charged with its design and construction.

The MWD, which serves as a major supplier of water to the Los Angeles region, along with the Santa Clara Valley Water District and the Zone 7 Water Agency in the Bay Area, formed the Delta Conveyance Design and Construction Joint Powers Authority, or DCA, which will hold its first meeting on Thursday.

“Our mission to modernize California’s primary water delivery system took another incredibly important step forward today,” said Jennifer Pierre, general manager for the State Water Contractors. “Northern and Southern California public water agencies have united in a partnership to efficiently and responsibly advance the construction of one of the most important infrastructure projects of our lifetime. We anticipate several other public water agencies to join the DCA in the coming weeks and months.”

The MWD board voted last year to contribute $4.3 billion toward the WaterFix project, then voted last month to increase its investment to $10.8 billion, providing the remaining funding of the $17 billion needed to build the full two-tunnel project after some other major water agencies declined to invest in it.

The California WaterFix project is designed to divert water from the Sacramento River as it enters the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and carry it to existing federal and state pumping stations in the southern part of the delta through one or two 35-mile tunnels.

The California Department of Water Resources also announced that it has created the Delta Conveyance Office, which will oversee the work of the DCA. During the Thursday meeting, the DCA Board of Directors will consider entering into a management partnership with DWR.

“Thoughtful decision-making, transparency and a commitment to public participation will be central to the mission of the DCA as it assumes responsibility for building California WaterFix,” Pierre said.

(©2017 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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