In May, the Santa Clara Valley Water District Board of Directors voted to participate in the California WaterFix Project, the state’s plan to improve the infrastructure that carries water through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to Santa Clara County and other water customers throughout the state.
As part of our participation, we have a leadership role in the joint powers authority that will govern the project and see it through design and construction. This body is called the Delta Conveyance Design and Construction Authority, or DCA, and I have been designated chair of the DCA for the next two years.
The formation of the DCA represents a milestone in years of collaboration, and begins the process of ensuring that Santa Clara County will be able to get a clean and safe water supply while protecting the environment.
As the chair, I will ensure that our water district will lead the charge as we move ahead with the important work of improving water supply reliability for our county and the state. I look forward to the challenge of implementing this project, as the water district and our partners commit to continuing this work through transparent public processes.
The first meeting of the DCA took place in May, and the first meeting of a joint powers authority to manage the finances of the project took place in July. The water district has a representative on each of these boards. Our representative on the finance joint powers authority is my colleague, Dir. Gary Kremen, who was elected vice president of that body.
Participating in the project means that Santa Clara County will have a better chance of sustaining its imported water supply in the face of earthquakes, climate change and sea-level rise that threaten the Delta.
Protecting water supplies for homes and businesses in Silicon Valley is a top priority, and we’re still working to get the best deal for the residents and businesses here. The levees that make up the state’s water distribution system in the Delta are 50 years old and not engineered to withstand major earthquakes. Experts warn that a large earthquake could collapse this system and put our water supply at risk.
The California WaterFix is a $17 billion project to bring water from north of the Delta underground through two parallel tunnels to users south of the Delta, including Santa Clara County. The water district's anticipated share of the project cost is $650 million; this level of investment will allow us to offset the ongoing decline in our water deliveries from the Delta. To learn more about the DCA, visit dcdca.org.
Submitted on behalf of the Santa Clara Valley Water District. For further information, contact your elected district representative, Tony Estremera at [email protected]. Opinions in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of San Jose Inside. Send op-ed pitches to [email protected].