The California WaterFix, formerly known as the Bay Delta Conservation Plan, would build two massive tunnels beneath the Sacramento–San Joaquin River Delta for an estimated $17 billion and would take 10 to 15 years to complete. The project as originally proposed would build two tunnels to shore up the State Water Project by diverting Southern California-bound water around the fragile San Joaquin Delta.
Currently, California’s largest supply of water is dependent on 50-year-old levees. According to state officials, if a natural disaster occurred it might cause the levees to fail, allowing salt water intrusion which could contaminate the fresh water supply.
The initial plan was to build two 35-mile long tunnels from the beginning of the State Water Project near Tracy to the bank of the Sacramento River. However, in February 2018, the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) announced that WaterFix would be developed in two stages instead.
The first stage will include a single tunnel and two intakes with a capacity of 6,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) while the second phase would add another tunnel and a third intake expanding the capacity to 9,000 cfs.
Approval of WaterFix is dependent on, among other things, local water agencies agreeing to fund the project’s construction and operation. The DWR hasn’t talked enough districts into the plan to cover the entire $17 billion tab, but it believes it has enough money to afford the $10.7 billion cost of just one tunnel right now.
Angelica Obioha, Infrastructure-Info Staff
When it comes to the California delta, none of Gov. Jerry Brown’s potential successors have tunnel vision
Los Angeles Times » Gov. Jerry Brown scored big last week in his tenacious effort to build monstrous twin water tunnels in the California delta. But his legacy project could still collapse. No potential successor supports it. Brown will be termed out in January. Nothing’s going to be built before then, and the needed permits probably won’t even be awarded.
The Sacramento Bee » Southern California’s water agency was going to bankroll most of Gov. Jerry Brown’s $16.7 billion Delta tunnels project, however, that plan died suddenly on Monday, less than a week after staffers from the Metropolitan Water District presented the proposal to the agency’s board of directors. The district ultimately decided the financing plan contained too many risks.