A $35-million phone line will be installed alongside the California Water Project that runs 398 miles from the Sacramento Delta to Southern California, MCI Telecommunications Corp. announced last week.
In return for rights of way, MCI is giving the California State Department of Water Resources free use of two pairs of fiber optics in the system, reducing the agency's data communications costs by between $300,000 to $500,000 annually.
The department will send signals over the two fiber optics that will start and stop pumps or open and close gates on the aqueduct, according to department spokesman Archie Noriega.
"This is one of those deals where everybody's a winner," said Eugene Eidenberg, president of MCI's Pacific division. "We're going to give the department the technology they need to manage that aqueduct system. And for our customers, we will offer more fiber capacity than any other carrier in California."