Governor Revises Plan to Fix State’s Aging Water Infrastructure

CalChamber, Broad-Based Coalition Support New Plan

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Water

The California Chamber of Commerce and a broad-based coalition are supporting the revised plan announced by the Governor to fix California’s aging water infrastructure and create a more secure water supply for the state.

The coalition, Californians for Water Security, includes labor unions, family farmers, businesses, local governments and water agencies.

The coalition urges immediate action moving forward with the plan, warning that the status quo leaves water supplies for two-thirds of the state’s population in jeopardy, especially during a drought or a natural disaster like an earthquake.

Immediate Need

“California’s historic drought is a stark reminder that we need to address the state’s severe water infrastructure problems immediately,” said CalChamber President and CEO Allan Zaremberg. “It is time to support the Governor’s ‘California Water Fix’ to secure our water system into the future.”

The California Water Fix is a state-of-the-art solution providing reliable, clean water for the state.

Currently, two-thirds of water for Californians starts in the Sierra Nevada range and flows through the state’s main water distribution system through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to other parts of the state, including Northern California, the Bay Area, Central Valley and Southern California.

But this system of aging dirt levees, aqueducts and pipes is outdated and at risk of collapse in a major earthquake or flood. Problems with this aging system have already resulted in significant water supply cutbacks and shortages for people, farms and businesses, as well as damage to fish, wildlife and the environment.

“We can’t just cross our fingers, hoping for the best in the Delta,” said Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. at the April 30 news conference announcing the plan. “Fish populations are at an all-time low. Bold action is imperative. We’ve listened to the public and carefully studied the science. This revised plan is the absolute best path forward.”

The Governor’s plan is the culmination of nearly a decade of extensive expert review, planning and scientific and environmental analysis by the state’s leading water experts, engineers and conservationists, and unprecedented public comment and participation.

The status quo and the state’s failure to upgrade its main water distribution system have led to dire consequences for California’s family farmers, who have been forced to leave fields unplanted or rip out orchards as drought and a failing water delivery system have cut off their surface water supply.

California Water Fix

The California Water Fix (an update to the proposed Bay Delta Conservation Plan) will:

• Improve the safety of the state’s water system and protect water supplies by delivering them through a modern water pipeline rather than solely through today’s deteriorating dirt levee system.

• Build a water delivery system that is able to protect water supplies from earthquakes, floods and natural disasters.

• Improve the ability to move water to storage facilities throughout the state so the water can be captured for use in dry years.

• Restore more natural water flows above ground in rivers and streams in order to reduce impacts on endangered fish and other wildlife.

• Protect and restore wildlife and the environment of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

Fact sheets including diagrams of the “refined tunnel option and intake design” and a map of key project components are available at www.CaliforniaWaterFix.com.

What’s Next

The California Water Fix will be the subject of a Recirculated Draft Environmental Impact Report/Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement, expected to be released this summer.

A separate effort, which the administration has dubbed California Eco Restore, will focus on accelerating restoration of the Delta ecosystem.

Staff Contact: Valerie Nera

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Valerie Nera
About Valerie Nera
Valerie Nera specializes in advocacy on agriculture, water, resources, crime, and banking and finance issues for the CalChamber. She joined the CalChamber staff in 1978 as a legislative assistant on agricultural issues. She also has lobbied air, environmental and privacy issues for the CalChamber. She earned a B.A. with honors from the University of California, Berkeley, and a J.D. from the McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific.