SACRAMENTO – California Secretary for Natural Resources John Laird issued the following statement regarding today’s decision by the Westlands Water District to decline participation in the California WaterFix project.
Three years ago, I was pleased to join San Diego leaders at a ceremony dedicating the San Vicente Dam Raise, a $416 million project that marked the single largest increase in water storage in San Diego County history. The project and others such as the state-of-the-art desalination facility at Carlsbad are key components of a water portfolio that demonstrates the region’s commitment to long-term water security.
California’s water delivery system is more than 50 years old and in need of an upgrade. This is especially apparent in wet years, when we get a large amount of storm water, but don’t have the ability to effectively capture, store, and move it for later. Without fixing how we move the water through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta (Delta), we will miss opportunities to take big gulps of water in wetter years and save it for use in drier years.
Recently released report by the City of Los Angeles Office of Public Accountability/Ratepayer Advocate finds that under a wide array of cost and water demand possibilities, California WaterFix is affordable to LA households – average increase of only $1.73/month.
WaterFix is moving toward the design and construction phase to build a more reliable water system for California. The following animations are based on conceptual engineering designs and depict the construction activities associated with building three new intakes and two gravity-fed tunnels that will secure and deliver clean water supplies to 25 million Californians and 3 million acres of farmland.
The delta smelt is on a trajectory towards extinction in the wild. Heading into 2017, the spawning adult population was at an all-time low although this past wet winter has apparently seen a small resurgence. However, increasingly warm summer temperatures in the Delta may dampen any upswing. Given the long-term trajectory of the population and climate predictions for California, maintaining Delta smelt in the Delta for the next 20-30 years is not likely to happen without significant improvements to the habitat.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife has issued an incidental take permit for the construction and operation of California WaterFix in compliance with Section 2081(b) of the California Endangered Species Act.
The Notice of Determination (NOD) for the California WaterFix environmental analysis was signed today, clearing a major milestone toward modernization of the state’s primary water delivery system. With finalization of the NOD and associated decision documents, DWR has approved WaterFix as the proposed project under the California Environmental Quality Act.
After extensive consultation with the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) and U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation), the National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries) and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) have released their biological opinions for the proposed construction and operation of California WaterFix. These agencies are responsible for the protection of species listed under the U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA).
A five year survey released by the California Department of Water Resources reveals half of the levees that guard California cities from a major flood don’t meet modern standards, and if a levee were to break in the wrong place, it could cut off the drinking water supply to the Bay Area for months or even years