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Coachella Valley Water District Board of Directors votes in favor of California WaterFix
The Board of Directors for the Coachella Valley Water District (CVWD) joined a growing number of water agencies now in support of the California WaterFix, known as Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed project to modernize and upgrade the state’s aging water infrastructure and delivery system and increase reliability of imported water to the Coachella Valley. Approximately 30 percent of Southern California’s water comes from Northern California via the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
“California WaterFix is not only critical to ensure the safety, reliability and efficiency of our state’s water supply, but it’s critical to the long-term sustainability of the Coachella Valley’s groundwater supply,” said Board President John Powell.
Although the endorsement of WaterFix by the CVWD board is non-binding at this juncture, the water district’s preliminary analysis estimates the district’s future cost will be between $15 and $24 million annually for 40 years. The district acknowledges there are numerous unanswered questions about the project’s cost and financing. A more accurate cost estimate will be developed as planning progresses and the state is able to confirm more details. These answers will provide CVWD customers with financial information as to any impact the project will have on them. The CVWD board minutes from Tuesday’s meeting state that, “the Coachella Valley Water District’s direct financial participation in the CWF Project Arrangement shall not exceed 1.9% of the estimated overall $16.7 billion total capital cost, in 2017 dollars.”
“As more information becomes available, we will have more public meetings to discuss this important issue with the community,” Powell said.
Whereas all Californians have a right to clean, affordable and reliable water, the state’s current delivery system is badly outdated and regarded by many as unreliable and inefficient. It is dependent on a 50-year-old levee system that covers some 1,100 miles throughout the state. The system is increasingly vulnerable to earthquakes, environmental degradation, flooding, saltwater intrusion and climate change.
The vote by the CVWD board on Tuesday was one of two such outcomes by water boards in Southern California. The Metropolitan Water District’s (MWD) Board of Directors also voted in support of the California WaterFix. Other Southern California water agencies that have recently voted in favor of WaterFix includes Crestline-Lake Arrowhead Water Agency, Desert Water Agency, Mojave Water Agency, San Bernardino Municipal Water District and San Gorgonio Pass Water Agency.
According to a recent public opinion survey commissioned by the Southern California Water Committee (SCWC), nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of Southern California voters support the WaterFix project.
Metropolitan Water District Board Chairman Randy Record hailed his district’s vote on Tuesday saying, “Every generation of Southern Californians has to reinvest in our water system to ensure a reliable water future. Today marks one of those historic votes that reaffirms that commitment and vision. We simply must modernize and improve the reliability of our imported supplies as well as meet the needs of growth by developing more local supplies and extending conservation.”