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As Marin County’s water reservoir storage substantially fills to over 92 percent storage capacity from recent rainfall, the county’s proposal to build an eight-mile emergency pipeline across the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge will undergo slower review processes, the district recently announced.

The district was initially moving quickly in its timeline to consider building a pipeline under the bridge that would carry third-party water sources to Marin. Typically, projects like pipelines or any other construction that has the potential to directly or indirectly physically change the environment must undergo processes in the California Environmental Quality Act.

Marin Water said this pipeline would not use water from the East Bay, but rather “surplus water from willing sellers in the Central Valley,” the district wrote on its website.

In facing historically low projected water levels for 2022, the water district was approved for a CEQA emergency exemption for environmental review for the $33.2 million project in October 2021.

With fuller water reservoirs, the district will now transition to a traditional, in-depth environmental review that will take a year or longer to finish. The district said this extended time will allow a more thoughtful review of the project’s construction plans and greater engagement with those it affects.

“Circumstances have changed considerably, and we no longer face the dire conditions that existed when we initiated the Intertie project under CEQA’s emergency provision,” Director Cynthia Koehler said in a statement. “At the same time, it is prudent to build on efforts to date and continue to pursue this project as a longer-term climate resiliency measure so our community has a diverse water supply portfolio to address future droughts.”