A project critical to protecting the water supply for millions of Californians reached a major milestone on December 8 when the state Department of Water Resources (DWR) released the final environmental report on the Governor’s Delta Conveyance Project.
Voicing support for the project following the release of the final Environmental Impact Report (EIR) were the California Chamber of Commerce and other organizations representing thousands of business and labor groups, water agencies, family farmers and others.
“Today’s release of the final environmental document is an important step forward in advancing this critical plan to protect California’s water supply,” said CalChamber President and CEO Jennifer Barrera. “California’s economy relies on the success of its private sector businesses and agricultural operations which are dependent on stable, reliable water supplies. Improving California’s water system and its infrastructure through the Delta Conveyance Project is urgently needed and we appreciate the Governor’s leadership on this project.”
This week, social justice advocates joined the coalition in signing a letter to Governor Gavin Newsom expressing support for the Delta Conveyance Project as completing an “all of the above” water security strategy.
A DWR fact sheet outlines the benefits of the Delta Conveyance Project to California’s water supply system. According to DWR, predictions are that hotter temperatures will cause the state to lose 10% of its water supply by 2040 and the decades-old State Water Project was not built to withstand the intense swings between droughts and floods.
The system relies on aging levees in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Concerns of a catastrophic levee failure are high, considering U.S. Geological Survey projections that there is a 72% chance of a 6.7 or greater magnitude earthquake occurring in the San Francisco Bay Area by 2043.
If the Delta Conveyance Project had been in place during the January storms, it could have captured enough water to supply the annual needs of 2.3 million people, according to DWR.
Release of the final EIR was the last step of a long state regulatory process, including different drafts and revisions to the project.
Among the nine project alternatives reviewed in the EIR was no project option.
The conveyance option highlighted in the DWR fact sheet shows a single below-ground tunnel about 45 miles long extending from the North Delta to the existing Bethany Reservoir on the California Aqueduct.
The project still is subject to a federal environmental review and must secure state and federal permits, a process that is expected to take until 2026.
Californians for Water Security
Californians for Water Security is a growing coalition of more than 12,000 California citizens and more than 80 organizations, including the CalChamber, representing business leaders, labor, family farmers, local governments, water experts, infrastructure groups, taxpayer associations, and others who support the plan to fix California’s broken water distribution system.
The coalition is waging an active advertising, grassroots lobbying, social media and public advocacy campaign to support this important project to fix the state’s aging water distribution infrastructure and improve water reliability and security throughout the state.
For more information on Californians for Water Security, visit www.watersecurityca.com.