California’s largest supply of clean water is dependent on 50-year-old levees. Earthquakes, floods and rising sea levels could cause these levees to fail, putting our fresh water supply at risk from saltwater contamination.
The current system is inefficient and cannot adequately capture and store water when it’s available. We are leaving behind fresh water that could be used by farms, businesses and communities.
Without an update to our water infrastructure, the environment and the state’s economy are at risk. We face serious potential for disruption to our water supplies causing job loss, higher food and water prices, and significant species decline.
The current pumps are extremely powerful, causing harmful reverse flows, trapping endangered fish and pulling them toward predators. We can’t let endangered species go extinct.
WaterFix is a science-driven upgrade to our aging water system. It will provide clean, reliable water while protecting our environment. WaterFix covers five main areas:
WaterFix is supported by engineers, scientists, water experts, California businesses and environmental groups. It is the result of an unprecedented level of public review and comment, and was chosen after evaluating thousands of alternatives because it is an economically smart solution to our state’s water problem.
California WaterFix is part of the state’s overall water management portfolio, which includes conservation, water management, recycling, ecosystem protection and more. Key program goals include:
DWR is proposing to pursue WaterFix as planned, but also explore an option to stage implementation.* This approach is directly responsive to the stated needs of the participating agencies, and would align the project with current funding commitments. It would also allow us to take significant steps toward improving environmental conditions.
Two new intakes, each with a capacity of 3,000 cfs, located on the Sacramento River, closer to high quality water and away from critical habitats.
One main tunnel up to 150’ below ground designed to protect California’s water supplies from sea level rise, earthquakes, floods and levee failure.
A pumping plant to lift water into Clifton Court Forebay.
Addition of one new intake with a capacity of 3,000 cfs, a second main tunnel, and a second pumping plant.
*Subject to completion of permitting and environmental review.
A return to more natural river flows in the south Delta, minimizing harmful reverse flows caused by powerful pumps.
Continued compliance to meet San Francisco Bay outflow requirements to protect against salt water intrusion and improve the overall health of the Delta ecosystem.
New intake location away from endangered species, with advanced fish screens that protect even the smallest species.
Based on ongoing review of potential construction and operational impacts, mitigation for California WaterFix construction and operation will include about 2,300 acres of habitat restoration and up to 13,300 acres of habitat protection (e.g. conservation easements). This additional acreage will focus primarily on preserving habitat and wildlife-friendly agriculture in the Delta. DWR and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation anticipate these revised acreage targets for habitat restoration and protection will be the maximum amount required for mitigation. Final determinations will be based on actual project impacts and consultation with fish and wildlife agencies. All habitat restoration and protection costs for California WaterFix will be paid for exclusively by water agencies benefiting from the project.
Separate from California WaterFix and over the next 5 years, California will pursue more than 30,000 acres of critical Delta restoration under the California EcoRestore program, pursuant to pre-existing regulatory requirements such as the 2008 and 2009 biological opinions and various enhancements to improve the overall health of the Delta ecosystem.
Proposition 1 funds and other state public dollars will be directed exclusively for public benefits unassociated with any regulatory compliance responsibilities.
Improve habitat conditions along five miles of important juvenile salmon migration routes
Restore tidal and non-tidal wetland habitat to sustain habitat functions for native wildlife, such as the giant garter snake and salmon
Restore native riparian forest and scrub to support habitat for riverside species and improve linkages for terrestrial and other native species
Improve connectivity among existing patches of grassland and other natural habitats
The Stage One cost to fix California’s primary water delivery system is estimated at $10.7 billion - or about $5 a month for urban water users – and will be paid for by public water agencies that rely on the supplies.
After a recent presentation by DWP about the status of remediation of underground water in the San Fernando Valley, I realized two things; first, they are doing a great job at building facilities to remove the underground toxins in these areas from the useful water for us Angelinos, and second, none of these measures are going to directly increase the water supply to Southern California. Which leaves us with a big question — how do we ensure our water supply in this desert we inhabit?
The WaterFix Cost-Benefit Analysis analyzes the value of water system improvements and the related costs and benefits to potential participants in both the urban and agricultural sectors.
DWR is proposing to pursue WaterFix as planned, but also explore an option to stage implementation. This approach is directly responsive to the stated needs of the participating agencies, and would align the project with current funding commitments. It would also allow us to take significant steps toward improving environmental conditions.
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