Opinion: A reliable water source is critical to the sustainable growth of our region
October 30, 2023
In Fontana, a city known for its diversity, thriving business environment, and unwavering commitment to the well-being of all its residents, we’re witnessing unprecedented growth. As we work tirelessly to enhance our infrastructure and services to support our expanding economy, securing a dependable source of clean, safe drinking water is a top priority.
That’s why I’m strongly supportive of Governor Newsom’s plan to upgrade California’s main water distribution infrastructure.
As California faces more frequent and extreme climate events, our water supply – particularly in arid Southern California – is becoming less reliable. Long-lasting droughts and intense floods, driven by climate change, are making water planning and procurement more challenging than ever.
More than two-thirds of Californians rely on a water delivery system that was constructed more than 60 years ago to deliver water from the Sierra Nevada Mountains through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to homes, farms and businesses throughout the state. Here in Fontana, as much as 25% of our water supply relies on this outdated infrastructure that is vulnerable to earthquakes and floods. For the broader Inland Empire, that figure rises to nearly 30%.
That’s why we need to rally behind the Governor’s Delta Conveyance Project, an initiative aimed at modernizing our aging water supply infrastructure. Modernizing this infrastructure will improve California’s ability to move and store water when it’s plentiful in preparation for when it is not. For example, if the Delta Conveyance Project had been operational this winter during record-breaking storm events, we could have captured and stored approximately 228,000 acre-feet of water could – enough water for 2.3 million Californians for a full year. This isn’t just about abundance; it’s about safeguarding our resilience during prolonged droughts.
Our regional water agencies have been leaders in pursuing resiliency projects that aim to reduce our reliance on the Delta. Initiatives like increasing groundwater storage, stormwater recharge, conservation, and recycled water projects are integral to meeting our future water needs. However, an “all of the above” strategy is vital in light of extreme climate conditions.
We recognize that rising water rates have placed a significant burden on communities across the United States, including our region. The Inland Empire, while a beacon of growth, faces a higher poverty rate compared to the national average, compounding economic, health, and environmental challenges for many residents.
As we remain committed to maintaining affordable water rates for our community, the proposed Delta Conveyance Project is a crucial component in ensuring that safe drinking water remains accessible and affordable, especially for our most vulnerable residents.
The Delta Conveyance Project isn’t just a plan; it’s a roadmap to the sustainable growth of our communities in an ever-changing climate. By embracing improved Delta conveyance, we are securing a dependable supply of clean water for the millions who depend on the State Water Project.
As more people continue to make places like Fontana their home, we need to ensure we can deliver safe and reliable drinking water to all who reside here. Let us work together to safeguard the lifeline of our community—our water supply. Together, we can ensure a prosperous future for Fontana, where everyone has access to a reliable and affordable source of clean water.
You can join us, learn more about the plan and get involved by visiting: www.watersecurityca.com.
Acquanetta Warren is mayor of Fontana.