Securing Reliable Water Supplies for Future Generations
About 30 percent of the water that flows out of taps in Southern California comes from Northern California via the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. But the Delta's delivery system is badly outdated, a problem compounded both by a declining ecosystem and 1,100-mile levee system that are increasingly vulnerable. California WaterFix is a comprehensive solution proposed by state and federal agencies to ensure our state has a reliable water supply for many years to come. It would modernize the decades-old delivery system through the building of three new intakes in the northern Delta along with two tunnels to carry water to the existing aqueduct system in the southern Delta.
On April 10, 2018, the Metropolitan Water District’s Board of Directors voted 61 percent to 39 percent to provide additional financing necessary to allow for the construction of the full California WaterFix project.
California WaterFix Implementation
To ensure the most effective approach to designing, constructing and financing California WaterFix, the State of California and the public agencies that are funding the project are forming a partnership to manage risk and build the project on time and budget. The partnership includes:
The Delta water system is outdated and unreliable. The system relies on levees that are vulnerable to earthquakes, floods and rising sea levels under climate change. And when these levees fail, water rushes into the lower-than-sea level islands behind them, pulling in salt water from the bay and fouling water quality before it can be delivered to Southern California, the Bay Area and Central Valley farmland. In addition, powerful existing state and federal pumps are strong enough to cause rivers to flow in reverse. This traps migrating and endangered fish, leading to declines in native fish populations.
"This project has been subjected to 10 years of detailed analysis and more environmental review than any other project in the history of the world. It is absolutely essential if California is to maintain a reliable water supply."
Near the end of 2016, the final environmental analysis for the California WaterFix project was published, representing a decade of scientific study, analysis and public input. The next milestone in the decision-making process was the release of biological opinions by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service on June 26, which showed the project’s effects on endangered species. This opinion will be followed by the release of the federal Record of Decision and the state’s Notice of Decision, which would allow the project to proceed.
Metropolitan’s Board of Directors held a series of public meetings to review different components of California WaterFix including the physical project, the proposed water operations and key financial issues. Each of the workshops discussed detailed white papers (links below). A listing of letters and resolutions submitted to Metropolitan can be found here.
October 10, 2017:
Metropolitan’s board approved the district’s 26 percent share of California WaterFix financing as well as moving forward on a governance structure to build and finance the $17 billion project. Metropolitan’s share is about $4.3 billion.
April 10, 2018:
Metropolitan’s board approved to provide additional financing necessary to allow for the construction of the full California WaterFix project. Metropolitan’s share is about $10.8 billion, making Metropolitan the primary investor in the project and more than doubling the agency’s initially planned investment to ensure the project is completed as originally proposed and studied.
May 14, 2018:
The Delta Conveyance Design and Construction Joint Powers Authority has been formed to manage, design and construct the project with transparency and accountability. Read more.