As Environmental Impact Report is Released, Broad Coalition Supports Governor Newsom’s Plan to Fix California’s Aging Water Distribution Infrastructure

July 27, 2022

Coalition Says Delta Conveyance Infrastructure Project will Help State Prepare for Impacts of Climate Change and Protect Vulnerable Water Supplies

For Immediate Release: July 27, 2022

Contact: Nicolette Velazquez (916) 384-7630

Sacramento – Today, as the state released an updated Environmental Impact Report about the proposed project to fix California’s aging primary water distribution infrastructure, a broad coalition of prominent labor, business, community and water leaders reiterated their strong support for the project, saying that climate change has created an urgent need to address the state’s dilapidated system of water conveyance throughout the state. Today’s EIR presents the (6,000 cf/s) single tunnel as the preferred alternative. Many changes have been made to the proposed project to address capacity and to minimize impacts on affected communities.

“There are few things more important for the security of our state than a reliable water supply,” said Michael Quigley, Executive Director of the California Alliance for Jobs, a labor management partnership. “But California’s main water distribution system that supplies water to 2/3 of our state’s families, farms and businesses is aging and at risk of collapse. We must take steps now to fix our aging water distribution infrastructure to protect the safety and reliability of our state’s water supply. Inaction is not an option.”

“Our water delivery system needs to be modernized to better prepare for climate change and the resulting extreme droughts, severe floods, and increasing water salinity in the Delta resulting from rising sea levels,” said Julian Canete, President & CEO from the California Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. “We desperately need to move forward with the Delta Conveyance Project. We can’t continue to leave vulnerable communities without a reliable water source, especially as the effects of climate change grow more extreme.”

Currently, two-thirds of water for Californians starts in the Sierra Nevada Mountains and flows through the state’s main water distribution system through the Sacramento San Joaquin Delta to other parts of the state, including the Bay Area, Central Valley, the Central Coast and Southern California. But this system is aging, vulnerable to natural disasters, and must be modernized to better protect against climate change.

“There is nothing more mission-critical to California’s future than solving for extreme water shortages that will only get worse due to climate change,” said Joseph Cruz, Executive Director of CA State Council of Laborers. “Whether it’s firefighters on the front-lines fighting unprecedented and historic wildfires, or vulnerable communities needing safe drinking water, our state needs a sustainable water supply for its nearly 40 million residents. This project is essential to protect water security.”

CWS supports this project because it would:

  • Protect water security for two-thirds of the state. Without action, water supplies through our main distribution infrastructure will continue to decrease.
  • Prepare for the impacts of climate change by improving our ability to move and store water to account for extreme swings in drought and flood and to protect against salinity caused by sea-level rise.
  • Improve the reliability and security of our water system by fixing aging infrastructure using the most innovative technologies and engineering practices.
  • Protect water supplies from earthquakes, floods and natural disasters by delivering them through a modern water pipeline, rather than solely through today’s deteriorating levee system.
  • Restore habitats and more natural water flows above ground in rivers and streams in order to reduce impacts on endangered fish and other wildlife.
  • Serve as a critical component of a comprehensive water portfolio.

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