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October 2013
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BDCP: Preserving 700,000 Southland Jobs

Job preservation is not the primary goal of stabilizing imported water supplies from Northern California with water system and ecosystem improvements. But maintaining a reliable water supply and reducing the prospect of shortages have real employment benefits, as identified in an analysis by University of California Professor David Sunding. More than 1.1 million jobs would be safeguarded statewide by investing in the Bay Delta Conservation Plan, with more than 700,000 of those jobs in Southern California.

Southern California receives about a third of its water supply from Northern California via State Water Project deliveries through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. The quantity and reliability of this supply has declined as the Delta ecosystem has deteriorated. BDCP calls for improvements to the Delta environment through ecosystem restoration, while anchoring supply reliability by building a new intake and tunnel system that would pose far less environmental conflicts compared to the current system. Enhanced reliability also supports California’s economy.

Participating water agencies such as the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California would pay for the Delta intake and conveyance improvements, estimated at $14.5 billion. BDCP would rely on various state and federal funding sources for ecosystem restoration efforts, estimated at $5.2 billion over the plan’s 50-year period. Including new operating costs, BDCP’s total price tag is in the range of $25 billion.

This has prompted the need to analyze the BDCP’s potential benefits to ensure that the plan is a net positive investment for the rate-paying public. Sunding’s study identified the benefits that would be provided by the new BDCP tunnels:

  • Ensuring the quantity and reliability of supplies
  • Improving water quality
  • Preventing shortages due to major earthquakes that could cripple the current pumping system

The broadest economic benefits come from avoiding a deterioration of Delta water deliveries to Silicon Valley, to farmers in the San Joaquin Valley and to Southern California. The economic value of BDCP’s water reliability translates into the protection of the million-plus jobs and $84 billion in statewide business output.

To learn more about the economic benefits of BDCP, visit Metropolitan’s website at, the BDCP website and Sunding’s presentation to Metropolitan’s Special Committee on Bay-Delta.

Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta


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The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California
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Los Angeles, CA 90012