Californians for Water Security Says New Cost-Benefit Analysis of the Delta Conveyance Project Reinforces Urgent Need to Move Forward with Project

May 16, 2024

Report Confirms that DCP Will Build Resilience Against Extreme Weather Resulting from Climate Change; Increases Safety and Reliability of State’s Water Supply

SACRAMENTO – Today, Californians for Water Security, a broad-based coalition of social justice advocates, business leaders, labor, family farmers, water experts, infrastructure groups and taxpayer associations, said a new report from the Department of Water Resources (DWR) and Dr. David Sunding reinforces the urgent need to move forward with this critical project. 

The Benefit/Cost analysis released today demonstrates the value of the project as local public water agencies consider moving forward with the next phase. The current projected cost of the DCP is $20.1 Billion, and for every dollar spent, California will receive $2.20 in benefits to the state. Further, the report found that the cost of “doing nothing” will cost the state billions of dollars and jeopardizes the water source for millions of Californians and more than 750,000 acres of farmland.

“Today’s benefit-cost report reinforces the fact that the Delta Conveyance Project would help provide more clean drinking water for Black and Brown communities across California,” said Rick Callender, NAACP California/Hawaii State Conference. “As water managers continue to invest in alternative sources of water, we urge them to keep affordability in mind – and this report shows that water conveyed through the State Water Project continues to be the most affordable source of water in the state. The DCP ensures that those deliveries can continue well into the future to serve our under-resourced communities.”

“The benefit-cost analysis underscores the fact that this project is a real investment in California’s future, potentially bringing billions in economic advantages to the state,” said Jennifer Barrera, California Chamber of Commerce. “California’s economy relies on the success of its private sector businesses and agricultural operations which are dependent on stable, reliable water supplies. Improving California’s water system and its infrastructure through the Delta Conveyance Project is mission critical for California’s economic future.”

Groups representing both labor and business interests are advocating for the DCP to move forward as quickly as possible to avert economic losses and to create more jobs.

“BizFed has enthusiastically supported the Delta Conveyance Project over the years because the businesses, hospitals, energy providers and transportation hubs we unite are all dependent on the flow of clean, safe water. Let’s invest in this project to shore up California’s aging water infrastructure before we’re faced with the cost of doing nothing, which can reach the tens of billions,” said Tracy Hernandez, Founding CEO of the Los Angeles County Business Federation, widely known as “BizFed.”

“Today’s report shows that we stand to lose billions in economic activity if we do not move forward quickly to build a more reliable water infrastructure. That’s why the California State Council of Laborers has always been a strong supporter of the Delta Conveyance Project and its goal of helping meet California’s long-term water supply needs,” said Joseph Cruz, California State Council of Laborers. “In addition to the thousands of high-paying union jobs created by this project, modernizing the state’s water delivery infrastructure will support continued construction and union jobs throughout the state.”

“California’s construction contractors and union construction workers strongly support the Delta Conveyance Project because we know the first hand the economic benefits of improving reliability of our state’s water infrastructure. Today’s cost-benefit analysis is proof positive that our economy relies on improving this system and that there is no time to waste,” said Michael Quigley, California Alliance for Jobs. “This project will directly and indirectly create hundreds of thousands of jobs across California.”

“The status quo in the Delta is broken for all users,” said Jim Wunderman, Bay Area Council President & CEO. “It risks breaking our entire economy—either gradually with rising sea levels, or suddenly with a major earthquake. The Delta Conveyance Project is a crucial step towards securing the water future of the Bay Area and other regions across the state.”  

“The longer we wait to move forward with the project, the more California loses out on the potential benefits it would provide. There’s no time to delay. Upgrading the state’s water delivery system is our best bet for ensuring our water supply keeps pace with climate change,” stated Charley Wilson, Executive Director of the Southern California Water Coalition, a diverse, non-partisan group uniting sectors like water, business, labor, nonprofits, and agriculture. “Imported water from the State Water Project is a cornerstone for Southern California, supporting sophisticated approaches such as water reuse and groundwater storage. Our reliance on this supply is reinforced by rigorous water conservation efforts, laying the groundwork for a resilient and flexible water system.”

The DCP also sets aside $200 million for a Community Benefits Program, recognizing local impacts and fostering community development and job opportunities. DWR committed to this program by including it in the project’s environmental impact report – it is a recognition that while the benefits of the project are in other parts of California, the construction effects are local. This will include a grant fund for local projects, business development set aside for job training and local business utilization, and potential “leave-behinds” like broadband or other infrastructure.

About Californians for Water Security
CWS is a growing coalition of more than 12,000 California citizens and more than 80 organizations representing business leaders, labor, family farmers, local governments, water experts, infrastructure groups, taxpayer associations, and others who support the plan to fix California’s broken water distribution system. 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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