The California Chamber of Commerce-supported California WaterFix project has achieved the next crucial milestone on the road to securing the state’s future water supplies.
The long-awaited plan to fix the state’s aging water distribution system received approval from the state Department of Water Resources—a Notice of Determination (NOD)—which is the final approval needed at the state level under the California Environmental Quality Act.
In June the federal procedural step was met when the biological opinions (BiOps) from federal agencies responsible for protecting species listed under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA) signed off. After extensive environmental reviews that started under the Obama administration, the new BiOps released June 26 from the National Marine Fisheries Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service found the construction and operations of WaterFix would not jeopardize the future existence of ESA-listed species.
Over the last six months, critical strides have been made in moving WaterFix forward, including the issuance of the final Environmental Impact Report (EIR) on December 22, 2016.
The exhaustive review process for California WaterFix reflects nearly a decade of scientific and public analysis, including nearly a year of public review of the EIR, 600 public meetings throughout the state, and responses and revisions based on more than 40,000 public comments, concluding that WaterFix is the only viable plan to protect the state’s water supply and the environment.
As WaterFix moves toward implementation, rigorous and continuing assessments of habitat and wildlife standards are expected.
Two-thirds of California homes, farms, and businesses depend on water that flows through an aging distribution system to regions across the state.
The California WaterFix will address the severe vulnerability in the state’s water infrastructure and secure local water supplies. Outdated, dirt levees would be replaced with a modern water pipeline built to withstand earthquakes and other natural disasters. Natural water flows would be restored to support the surrounding environments. The plan is critical for many California communities and the state’s economy.
The CalChamber supports the WaterFix as part of the Californians for Water Security coalition of more than 12,000 California citizens and more than 180 organizations representing business leaders, labor, family farmers, local governments, water experts, environmentalists, public safety officials, infrastructure groups, taxpayer associations and others.
For more information on the California Water Fix and coalition, visit www.watersecurityca.com