WaterFix is part of the state’s overall water management portfolio, which includes conservation, water management, recycling, ecosystem protection and more.
The Department of Water Resources (DWR) and participating public water agencies have extensively studied and analyzed organizational models for major infrastructure projects. DWR and the public water agencies will form a partnership to implement the most effective means of staffing, designing, contracting, constructing and financing WaterFix. This model is in the best interests of both the state and the public water agencies funding the project, assigning roles and responsibilities that align around a shared vision to build the project on time and budget.
WaterFix is a long-overdue infrastructure upgrade that will maintain a reliable source of water for 27 million Californians and more than 3 million acres of farmland in the San Francisco Bay Area, Central Valley and Southern California, while addressing Delta ecosystem issues. It is a critical element of the state’s overall strategy to create climate change resiliency and ensure a reliable water supply for the future, as outlined in Governor Brown’s California Water Action Plan.
California WaterFix will result in substantial economic benefits to California, including the creation of about 122,000 full-time equivalent water facility jobs during construction, operation and maintenance of the project. A full-time equivalent job is defined as one person working full-time for one year.
California WaterFix is the state’s plan to upgrade outdated infrastructure in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta (Delta) to secure California’s water supplies and improve the Delta’s ecosystem. The past year was full of important milestones, including the completion of several required regulatory processes and critical participation decisions. Each of these milestones advanced the project closer to implementation and eventual construction.
Design improvements are being proposed to minimize impacts of the WaterFix project on local communities and the environment. The proposed changes build on past modifications that significantly reduced the project’s footprint and costs. The new optimizations also seek to minimize impacts on Delta wetlands and the natural environment.
WaterFix is a modern and ambitious infrastructure project that will require world-class engineering, efficient construction management, aggressive cost containment, and transparent business operations.
After 10 years of analysis, dialogue and scientific inquiry, the California WaterFix remains the most feasible approach to not only securing water supplies but also protecting native fish in the Delta. For fish, this means lessening the impact of pumping water solely from the southern part of the Delta estuary and restoring more natural flow conditions.
It has been clear to water experts and biologists over the past decade that the status quo in the Delta is unacceptable. The water infrastructure in the Delta is outdated and operations can be harmful to fish. The fragile levees and ecosystem are vulnerable to earthquakes, severe storms, saltwater intrusion and further environmental degradation. WaterFix protects water supply from natural disasters, helps the state prepare for the effects of climate change, and reduces stressors on native fish.
California WaterFix is the state’s plan to upgrade outdated infrastructure in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta (Delta) to secure California’s water supplies and improve the Delta’s ecosystem. Over the last ten years the project has made significant progress, with 2016 marking completion of the environmental review documents.
The WaterFix planning process began in 2006, initially proposed as the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP). State and federal agencies proposed updating the State Water Project (SWP) by adding new points of diversion in the north Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta (Delta).
More than 25 million Californians rely on water that comes from the Sierra Nevada Mountains and then travels through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta (Delta). This map provides a glimpse into some of the urban communities that depend on this water.
This winter brought significant rain to California, but we missed an opportunity to capture and store much of it. Use of the existing south Delta pumps was limited in order to minimize harm to native fish species. California WaterFix would have allowed water to be captured and stored while meeting standards to protect fish and water quality. The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) tracked how we could have met the state’s dual goals of environmental protection and water supply reliability this winter, if WaterFix were in place.
WaterFix is an upgrade to the state’s 50-year-old water infrastructure that will make it easier to move water in an environmentally friendly manner. The current system is outdated and unreliable, and dependent on levees that put our clean water supply at risk from earthquakes and sea level rise.
California WaterFix would protect and maintain water quality in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta (Delta) and guard against potential threats such as saltwater intrusion and sea level rise.
The California Natural Resources Agency has been working with state and federal agencies since 2006 on a plan to secure California’s water supplies and improve the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta’s (Delta) ecosystem. In 2015, Governor Jerry Brown announced a major change for the project formerly known as the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP). The lead state and federal agencies shifted their focus from a habitat conservation plan to permitting, design, and construction of a Delta conveyance facility (California WaterFix), with the majority of ecosystem restoration work now occurring under a separate program, California EcoRestore. California WaterFix maintains the co-equal goals of increasing statewide water supply reliability and, in coordination with California EcoRestore, facilitating increased habitat restoration in the Delta.
One of California’s chief sources of water is the snowpack of the 400-mile-long Sierra Nevada mountain range. Mountain snow melts each spring and flows west and collects in major reservoirs. From behind dams, water is distributed through the year to farms and cities. The water flows from the reservoirs, down the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers to the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta (Delta). In the low-lying Delta, some water flows west into San Francisco Bay and out to the Pacific Ocean. Some water is lifted by federal and state pumping plants into southbound canals that supply the Bay Area, Central Valley, and Southern California. In all, the water diverted by the federal and state water projects in the Delta reaches 25 million Californians and three million acres of farmland.
Creating an isolated conveyance facility and additional point of diversion for water exports in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta was first proposed in the early 1950s. Efforts to build a ‘Peripheral Canal’ lasted through 1982. State fisheries biologists supported such a canal as a way to minimize the adverse environmental effects of pumping water from the south Delta. Others sought a canal to help meet increased demand for water supplies.
Large infrastructure projects like California WaterFix require multiple and often concurrent regulatory review and permitting processes to obtain all of the necessary approvals before moving forward. Below is an overview of the regulatory and permitting actions associated with California WaterFix.
The DCE was established as a unit within the Department of Water Resources (DWR) to support activities associated with the environmental review, design and, if approved, construction of the BDCP’s Conservation Measure 1 (Alternative 4A) as described in the 2013 Draft Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement (DEIR/EIS), now California WaterFix. The mission of this enterprise is limited to this singular focus, and the life span of the enterprise will be limited to the time necessary to complete construction of California WaterFix.
Once abundant, Central Valley Chinook salmon, steelhead and smelt populations have declined significantly in recent years. Loss of habitat, altered flows, pollution, invasive species, predators and fluctuating ocean conditions have all influenced the health of native populations. In the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta (Delta), tidal marshes, floodplains and other features that once provided places for native fish to hold, rest, feed, and grow have been replaced by channels bound by rockhardened levees. Existing operation of the state and federal pumping facilities can, at certain times, contribute to reverse river flows and trap migrating fish.
The development of preliminary plans for property acquisition is part of every major infrastructure project. ‘ No final decisions have been made in selecting an alternative; those decisions will only occur after the completion of the CEQA and NEPA processes. ‘ Since 2013, the Department of Water Resources has greatly reduced the project’s impacts on private property by modifying the project footprint and utilizing more state-owned lands.
In 2013, significant changes to the proposed water facilities and operations reduced the overall project footprint by one-half of its original size to minimize community impacts. In 2014, the water facilities were further refined to address engineering improvements and feedback received during the public comment period. Since then, additional changes have been made to the proposed facilities.
This prudent, realistic, science-driven, and achievable approach will fix California’s aging water delivery system and protect our economy and public safety. This approach responds to an unprecedented level of public review and comment. The project covers five main areas:
Water flows from the Sierra Nevada mountains through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta (Delta), a critical link in California’s water supply network. The existing system is outdated, inefficient and in need of repair. Hundreds of miles of dirt and rock levees are all that protect our state’s water supplies from saltwater intrusion and disruption. Without fixes to our water supply infrastructure, the Delta and the state’s economy face threats:
California EcoRestore (EcoRestore) will accelerate and implement a comprehensive suite of habitat restoration actions to support the long-term health of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta’s (Delta) native fish and wildlife species.
Operation of the new and existing water conveyance facilities will be managed to specific criteria related to: