Critical audit another hit to $16 billion California tunnels

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California's auditor says state water managers appear to have violated state law by hiring an unqualified consultant to help plan Gov. Jerry Brown's $16 billion project to build two massive water tunnels.

An audit released Thursday also faults the state Department of Water Resources for not finishing a cost-benefit analysis.

It's the latest blow to Brown's plan to build twin tunnels east of San Francisco to deliver water from the Sacramento River mostly to farms and cities hundreds of miles away in central and Southern California. Last month, the nation's largest supplier of irrigation water to farms voted not to help fund the project.

Auditors also say the unexpected complexity of the project has resulted in significant delays and cost increases.

State officials say they believe they've acted properly.

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