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This is a critical year to move from the planning phase to the construction phase of the California WaterFix. Water agency officials agree that it’s time to move forward with the plan to fix California’s outdated water infrastructure system in order to secure reliable water supplies for millions of Californians and to protect the Delta that carries these invaluable water supplies from the Sierra Nevada Mountain.

Last year, the Delta smelt population – a fish critical to the Delta ecosystem – was estimated by the federal government to be at about 112,000. This year, biologists say there are likely just 13,000 of these fish left in the Delta. Without the California WaterFix, we will continue to see this ecosystem decline, and continue to lose water that cannot be captured and stored effectively with our outdated water infrastructure.

California’s current system of crumbling levees and aging pipelines is hemorrhaging billions of gallons of water that we could be storing in times when California needs it most – during times of drought. As each day passes, we are losing the rainwater by the gallon. As this new infographic from State Water Contractors shows, California’s outdated infrastructure has already lost enough water to supply 3.6 million people for an entire year.

Special interest groups who advocate for the status quo of our failing water distribution system often depict the California WaterFix as a division between northern and southern California. But as we know, many areas in northern California such as Santa Clara, Alameda, and Contra Costa Counties depend on the Delta as their water source, deepening the need for the California WaterFix to update our aging water distribution system. Many are learning that up to 40% of the water Santa Clara County needs comes from the Delta. Not only that, but this source provides 95% of drinking water for the County.