What is California Water “Fix”?
WaterFix is an upgrade to the state’s 50-year-old water infrastructure that will make it easier to move water in an environmentally friendly manner. The current system is outdated and unreliable, and dependent on levees that put our clean water supply at risk from earthquakes and sea level rise.
The new location and technology will minimize reverse flows and reduce impacts to endangered fish. It will maintain water quality and standards needed for a healthy Delta ecosystem.
WaterFix will contribute to the restoration and protection of approximately 15,600 acres of critical Delta habitat as mitigation for ongoing construction and operational impacts, in addition to restoring more natural Delta flow patterns.
About 30 percent of the water that flows out of taps in Southern California comes from Northern California via the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. State and federal agencies want to modernize the water system by building three new intakes in the Northern Delta along with two tunnels to convey water to the existing aqueduct system in the southern Delta.
Why is it needed?
Here are five reasons why the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California supports the planning effort known as California WaterFix.
THE BIG ONE: The new tunnel pipelines could safely transport supplies to the 25 million people, farms, businesses that depend on this water in the event an earthquake or other disaster collapses Delta levees and disrupts the existing decades-old system.
DROUGHT: Nearly all of the water that is stored in Southern California for drought and emergency needs comes either from Northern California or the Colorado River.
GROUNDWATER: Groundwater is Southern California’s single largest local water source, but groundwater basin managers actually depend primarily on imported supplies from Northern California to help replenish those basins.
BIG STORMS: A modernized system could once again reliably capture enough water to refill reservoirs after big storms because it would have multiple locations in the Delta to divert supplies, providing flexibility and reducing conflicts with migrating fish species such as salmon.
THE HIGHEST QUALITY = MORE SUPPLIES: Sierra snowmelt is pure enough to recycle again and again in Southern California, promoting more recycling projects in the region’s future. And the Northern California supply has been good enough for Metropolitan Water District to enter into international water tasting competitions – and win.
An Important Investment
Modernizing the hub of the statewide water system is no small matter. Building new water intakes in the northern Delta and the twin tunnel pipelines to transport the supply would cost about $15 billion, with Metropolitan’s share likely 25 percent. Yet consider the benefit of protecting water reliability from the state’s single largest supply, the Sierra snowpack. This investment, spread over the expected supply, breaks down to less than a tenth of a penny per gallon of supply delivered, protecting the supply for decades to come and billions in previous investments to secure and store this supply. The cost of water from Northern California, even after modernizing the system, is roughly half the cost of any mega-scale projects to develop new local water supplies. About a fourth of Metropolitan’s service area, including communities in Ventura and Los Angeles counties and the Inland Empire receive all of their imported water from Northern California.
WHO IS METROPOLITAN
The Metropolitan Water District of California is a state-established cooperate of 26 member agencies – cities and public water agencies that serve nearly 19 people in six counties.