Jaclyn Giovis Wolff
State Water Contractors’ Response to California WaterFix Staged Approach
Sacramento, CA – The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) today announced it is proposing to build California WaterFix in two stages to align with the needs of the public water agencies funding the project. Specifically, DWR is focusing first on one tunnel and two intakes for a total of 6,000 cubic feet per second (cfs), and will continue to pursue completion of the project by adding a second tunnel and a third intake for a maximum of 9,000 cfs at some future date.
“We appreciate that the State has developed an approach that is responsive to the current funding availability, making momentum for California WaterFix stronger than ever. We look forward to starting the first stage of the project to secure reliable, high-quality water for millions of Californians and generations to come.”
State Water Contractors
A MODERN SOLUTION TO UPDATE CALIFORNIA’S WATER DELIVERY SYSTEM
- Two-thirds of California’s water supply originates from the Sierra Nevada mountains as snowmelt. That high-quality, clean water travels through the State Water Project (SWP), supplying 25 million Californians, 750,000 acres of fertile agricultural land and a variety of industries that form the backbone of the state’s economy.
- California WaterFix will modernize and upgrade the aging water infrastructure and delivery system in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta – an environmental treasure and the hub of the state’s water supply – to efficiently move water supplies underneath the fragile Delta ecosystem rather than through it.
- California WaterFix also will provide a flexible and reliable solution to manage water supplies for more extreme weather including wet years and recurring droughts – a climate reality in California. It will enable the state to capture and store more water in groundwater basins and reservoirs during wet years so it can weather drier times.
- A critical component of the project is protecting and improving the delicate Delta ecosystem to benefit endangered fish species and restore their habitat.
BUILDING WHAT WATER AGENCIES NEED AND CAN FUND
- The SWP is able to fund and use the full 6,000 cfs of the Stage 1 conveyance capacity. However, the State is continuing its discussions with Central Valley Project (CVP) contractors that are considering an investment in the project.
- With a total yield of approximately 4.7 million-acre feet, WaterFix will ensure a reliable supply that meets the needs of public water agencies today, even in the face of climate change effects and increased regulation, and will protect 800,000 acre feet of supply in the future.
A PRUDENT, FISCALLY RESPONSIBLE APPROACH
- California WaterFix represents an investment opportunity for south-of-the-Delta SWP contractors and participating CVP contractors, enabling them to fund a portion of the project and secure their respective share of water supplies for the future.
- As the primary beneficiaries, participating contractors collectively would cover the costs of the construction, ongoing operations and any environmental mitigation associated with the project, consistent with the benefit they would receive from California WaterFix.
- Over the past several decades, billions of dollars of investments have been made in the SWP. Ratepayers will benefit from the investment by protecting the SWP, which is the most affordable and reliable source of water in the state.
THE EXPERTISE TO EXECUTE
- Under DWR’s oversight, a joint powers authority (JPA) comprised of SWP contractors and participating CVP contractors will pull the best and brightest from each organization and from throughout the industry to manage the design and construction of California WaterFix.
- As a public agency, the JPA provides a means for the beneficiaries of the project to pool expertise and resources to safely design, construct and deliver the project on time, on budget and in accordance with approved specifications, while managing risk prudently and ensuring compliance with state laws.
- Construction of California WaterFix will begin once all the necessary permits are complete, which is anticipated to be toward the end of this year.
- DWR will manage project operations after construction is complete.
The State Water Contractors is a statewide, non-profit association of 27 public agencies from Northern, Central and Southern California that purchase water under contract from the California State Water Project. Collectively the State Water Contractors deliver water to more than 25 million residents throughout the state and more than 750,000 acres of agricultural land.