Water Reliability: The Delta Fix
THE ISSUE: THE DELTA “FIX”
A reliable supply of water sustains our economy and quality of life. Fact is, 25 million Californians, of which 19 million live and work in the Southern California region, depend on the water that passes across the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, the hub of the water delivery system, where water is pumped into aqueduct systems that deliver water over great distances, not only to Southern California but to the northern and central portions of our state as well. While Southern California leads the nation in water conservation and recycling, the fact remains that two-thirds of the water consumed in Southern California is imported from at least 250 miles away. The largest sources of that imported water are the Colorado River and Northern California through the State Water Project, with more than half of that imported water coming through the fragile Delta, a 100-year old, unstable system built decades ago that is vulnerable to earthquakes and levee failures.
This fragile system puts water supplies flowing to Southern California and other parts of the state at great risk. A study released in November, 2012 by the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation reveals the scale of disaster that the Los Angeles area could experience were the California Aqueduct to be shut down in the aftermath of an earthquake or man-made incident. Conducted by a team of USC economists, including one of the nation’s leading experts on terrorism and other disasters, the study indicates that up to 550,000 jobs and nearly $56 billion in GDP could be lost in Los Angeles County during a one year shutdown of the aqueduct should a disaster occur during a drought year. With a two-year shutdown during a normal rainfall year, the job loss approaches 740,000 and a $75 billion loss in GDP.
This study looks at the impacts of such a disaster on Los Angeles County. On top of what could happen in Los Angeles, consider the impacts on the Bay Area, the San Joaquin Valley and the entire Southern California region should an earthquake or other disaster cut off the supply of water from the Delta.
In order to repair the Delta, ensure a high quality, reliable supply of water, and reverse the decline of the Delta’s ecosystem, a Bay Delta Conservation Plan has been developed which includes a long range plan of restoration and conveyance improvements that would move water either around or underneath the Delta so that it flows directly into the connecting aqueduct system. In 2013, environmental and public review of the proposed new water conveyance facilities will commence. A wide range of alternatives will be reviewed, including tunnels and pipelines that would deliver water through the system. A tunnel system is expected to generate up to 130,000 jobs over a seven year construction period.
The Southern California Leadership Council has consistently supported key policies and infrastructure projects that deliver a safe and reliable water supply to Southern California. The Council supports moving ahead with a cost-effective, environmentally friendly alternative conveyance that would move water around or underneath the Delta on its way to the Southland.
News, Updates and Background:
SCLC Media Coverage
Beware – A Water Supply Disaster
Putting Water Wars at Rest…And All Californians Win!
Relevant News and Articles
Water wisdom for California
Wilson: It’s Time for Action on Delta Proposal
STATE: Water Imperative
Science Drives Delta Water Plan
Delta Plan Lays Out Stable Water Future
Labor Groups Support Gov Announcement on Bay Delta Plan
Gov. Brown & Obama Admin Outline Path for Bay Delta Plan
News Release: Delta Announcement
SCLC Position Papers, Reports and Communications
Securing Reliable Water Supplies for Southern California
Date: January 2008
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