Guest Opinion: Tri-Valley’s future water depends on modernizing the State Water Project

February 9, 2024

Why the Pleasanton Chamber of Commerce supports the Delta Conveyance Project

Submitted by James Cooper

The Pleasanton Chamber of Commerce is a “champion for a stronger and healthier community,” which includes preparing Pleasanton for future challenges. 

We take pride in helping Pleasanton remain among the very best cities in the country in which to live, work and raise a family. A strong local economy is critical for this effort to succeed, and our water is a key piece. 

We need a reliable and clean water supply for our homes, businesses and community. However, due to the challenges associated with climate change, the reliability of our water supply system is less certain in the future.

The proposed Delta Conveyance Project is a plan to modernize the State Water Project’s (SWP) movement of this water, which will improve our water reliability. The Tri-Valley area (including Livermore, Dublin and Pleasanton) gets their water from the Zone 7 Water Agency. 

Seventy percent of Zone 7’s water supply is imported from the San Joaquin Delta via the SWP, which is owned and operated by the California Department of Water Resources (DWR). Our SWP water travels through the Delta and the South Bay Aqueduct to get to your kitchen faucet. Zone 7 Water Agency is one participating agency in the SWP, which serves a total of 27 million people in different regions of the state.

The existing 1960s-era infrastructure of the present Delta conveyance system needs modernizing and is under threats from seismic risk and climate change. This infrastructure was not designed for the boom-and-bust precipitation cycles California is currently facing. 

We need a system that can handle the prolonged drought periods followed by intense floods that will define California’s hydrological future. The Delta Conveyance Project will ensure that the SWP can continue supplying the Tri-Valley with a reliable source of water into the future.

One eye-catching statistic from DWR is if the Delta Conveyance Project had been in place during the big storms in January 2023, the improved system would have captured enough water to supply about 2.3 million people for a year. Being able to capture water when it is plentiful to save it for when it is not plentiful is a critical piece of Pleasanton’s climate adaptation strategy. 

But we know that the Delta Conveyance Project will not solve our water issues alone. That’s why we are proud to work with a forward-thinking water agency like Zone 7 to develop a broad portfolio of local water supplies as well.

With a knowledgeable Board of Directors, Zone 7 General Manager Valerie Pryor has assembled a great team which has continued to develop projects, such as groundwater recharge, recycling and conservation, to optimize our water supply. 

Without question, these projects have helped our communities. Even so, the bulk of our water supply is through the SWP. The Delta Conveyance Project will increase that system’s reliability, which is critical to the Tri-Valley’s future.

The Pleasanton Chamber of Commerce joins with Zone 7 Water Agency to strongly support the Delta Conveyance Project, and to advocate for future water reliability in all water-related infrastructure projects.

Editor’s note: James Cooper, a Bay Area resident for over 45 years, serves as President and CEO of the Pleasanton Chamber of Commerce, the fifth Bay Area chamber he has worked at and the third he’s led. A former corporate marketing director, Cooper has also managed small businesses in the hospitality, entertainment and professional services sectors. He holds an MBA with an emphasis in global management.

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