Broad Coalition Supports WaterFix as the Most Effective and Environmentally Sound Way to Secure State Water Supplies for Two-Thirds of Californians

SACRAMENTO – With today’s release of the final Environmental Impact Report (EIR) on the Governor’s California WaterFix by the Department of Water Resources (DWR), organizations representing thousands of business and labor groups, water agencies, family farmers, environmentalists and others voiced their strong support for moving this project forward as quickly as possible. These groups say that updating California’s aging water infrastructure through WaterFix is critical to protecting water security for two-thirds of Californians.

“Combined with the Governor’s Eco Restore program, the Delta pipelines will do a tremendous job of both protecting California’s water supply system against climate change and sea level rise, and restoring the Delta ecosystem. The pipelines can help correct problems caused by too much water flowing in an unnatural direction across the Delta, and Eco Restore will provide necessary habitat restoration, reviving threatened California salmon and other species,” said Dr. Gerald Meral, California Water Director, Natural Heritage Institute.

“Like two-thirds of our state, our region is highly-dependent upon this infrastructure to protect our quality of life and our local economy,” said Scott Quady, Board President, Calleguas MWD. “We’re glad to see the plan moving forward to protect water supplies for 25 million people, millions of businesses and hundreds of thousands of acres of productive farm land throughout California.”

According to DWR, the final EIR is released after more than 300 days of public review and 600 public meetings throughout the State considering the draft versions. It includes responses and revisions based on more than 30,000 public comments. The documents released today include review of 18 project alternatives, including the status quo, concluding that the WaterFix is the only viable plan to protect our state’s water supply and the environment.

DWR also reported considering hundreds of alternatives in the development of the WaterFix that were screened out due to lack of feasibility or public benefit. The WaterFix was chosen in order to satisfy the 2009 Delta Reform Act, which established the co-equal goals of providing a more reliable water supply for California and protecting, restoring, and enhancing the Delta ecosystem.

Businesses and labor groups across California say this project needs to move forward as quickly as possible.

Robbie Hunter, State Building and Construction Trades Council of California, representing 400,000 workers across the state: “Protecting our water supplies requires real solutions and timely action. The California WaterFix is the only viable long-term solution to secure our state’s water supplies for generations to come.”

Allan Zaremberg, California Chamber of Commerce: “The release of the final environmental documents represents a major milestone forward and the culmination of nearly 10 years of analysis and improvement. This is the right plan for California. It’s time to move forward.”

Roger Isom, California Cotton Growers Association: “The association represents all of the cotton growers in California, and our members produce 100% of California’s total annual production. The California WaterFix will improve our outdated infrastructure and secure precious water supplies so that farmers can continue to provide this vital commodity while preserving thousands of jobs.”

Gary Toebben, Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce: “The Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, representing the interests of more than 235,000 businesses in L.A. County, supports the California WaterFix because the success of our Los Angeles economy will be determined by our water security and reliability in the years to come. This plan is vital to protect our region’s water supplies.”

Kris Rosa, Silicon Valley Leadership Group: “The Silicon Valley Leadership Group, representing more than 400 of the Silicon Valley’s most respected employers, supports the California WaterFix because the water provided to our region and the state through this system is vital to our economy. Santa Clara County receives much of our clean drinking water from this source, and we must work to ensure the safety of this vital water supply.”

Michael Quigley, CA Alliance for Jobs: “We represent more than 2,000 heavy construction companies and 80,000 union construction workers from Kern County to the Oregon border and strongly support the California WaterFix. This project will protect and create nearly one million jobs across California.”

Julian Canete, CalAsian Pacific Chamber of Commerce: “CalAsian Chamber represents the interest of the over 600,000 API-owned businesses in California, which generate over $200 billion in annual revenue and employ more than 1 million Californians. Our organization supports the California WaterFix because this project will protect our clean water supplies from salt water contamination and improve the Delta ecosystem by bringing back more natural flows to protect fish and wildlife.”

David Grau, Ventura County Taxpayers Association: “We believe the CA WaterFix best serves taxpayers’ interests by securing reliable water supplies at an affordable rate. Currently, 75% of Ventura County’s population relies heavily on our state’s antiquated water distribution system, and this percentage could actually increase to virtually 100% as adjacent communities struggling with extreme drought conditions, including the cities of Ventura and Ojai, may take their state water allocations for the first time in history. The 25 million California residents reliant on this unfinished, mid-20th century system deserve better and as a state we can and must do better to stabilize this critical water supply!”

Joseph Cruz, California State Council of Laborers: “Representing 65,000 union members working in the heavy construction industry across the state, the California State Council of Laborers is proud to support the California WaterFix and its goal of helping meet California’s long-term water supply needs. By moving our water underground and using gravity instead of depending on dirt levees, WaterFix will be a more reliable system that can protect water supplies from major earthquakes, floods and climate change.”

Bryan Starr, Orange County Business Council: “The Orange County Business Council, representing 300 of the state’s largest employers, and more than 250,000 employees across Southern California supports the California WaterFix because it is vital to our economy to protect this essential water source. Water reliability is absolutely paramount to the sustainability of California’s economy. Any period of time, if ever brief, of water delivery system failure will have catastrophic impacts on California’s economy. The CA WaterFix is absolutely necessary to prevent system failure!”

About Californians for Water Security
CWS is a growing coalition of more than 12,000 California citizens and more than 180 organizations representing business leaders, labor, family farmers, local governments, water experts, environmentalists, public safety officials, infrastructure groups, taxpayer associations, and others who support the plan to fix California’s broken water distribution system. The Governor’s plan was drafted after nearly a decade of scientific review and analysis by leading water experts and conservationists and has received input from leading scientists and engineers. The coalition is waging an active advertising, grassroots lobbying, social media and public advocacy campaign to support this important project to fix our aging water distribution infrastructure and improve water reliability and security throughout the state.

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