SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) released the Draft Environment Impact Report (Draft EIR) for the Delta Conveyance Project, marking an important step in evaluating a key strategy to adapt to a changing climate and provide clean, reliable water for future generations.
The release of the Draft EIR gives the public an opportunity to formally weigh in on a proposed infrastructure modernization project that has been significantly changed in response to public comment. The proposal follows Governor Newsom’s direction in 2019 to downsize previous concepts for improving Delta conveyance.
“Two out of three Californians rely on the State Water Project for all or part of their water supply,” said DWR Director Karla Nemeth. “Modernizing this infrastructure is essential to adapting to a future that includes more frequent extremes of drought and flood, and greater water instability.”
If the project had been operational during the big storms in October and December of 2021, DWR could have captured and moved about 236,000 acre-feet of water. That is enough for about 2.5 million people for a year. If approved after completion of the environmental review process, the project will also help California manage through periods of severe drought like the one the state is experiencing now.
Nemeth noted that the proposed project has been refined, redesigned and rerouted as a result of public input and the Governor’s 2019 direction.
“We took a fresh look at everything. Changing from two tunnels to one opened the door to many creative design and engineering innovations,” she said.
California faces a hotter and drier future with more frequent and extreme droughts and floods. Water captured from the Sierra Nevada snowpack will need to be managed and used more efficiently, requiring investments in water recycling, water storage and clean and sustainable groundwater basins.
The Delta Conveyance Project is intended to help ensure the State Water Project can capture, move, and store water by making the most of extreme storm events that are becoming more frequent with California’s changing climate.
The preliminary design of the proposed project and alternatives outlined in the Draft EIR reflect the work of the Delta Conveyance Design and Construction Authority (DCA), a joint powers authority of local public water agencies participating in the project.
“We brought world class engineering and design creativity to the effort,” said DCA’s Executive Director Graham Bradner. “We sought input from the community to understand local effects and focused on ways to avoid or minimize issues related to noise, traffic, power, aesthetics, boating and waterways, land disturbance and the overall project footprint.”
The Draft EIR was prepared by DWR as the lead agency to comply with the requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act by evaluating a range of alternatives to the proposed project and disclosing potential environmental effects of the proposed project and alternatives, and associated mitigation measures for potentially significant impacts. No decisions will be made on whether to approve the project until the conclusion of the environmental review process, after consideration of public comments submitted on the Draft EIR and issuances of a Final EIR. At that time, DWR will determine whether to approve the proposed project an alternative or no project.
Everyone is invited to visit the Draft EIR website to access the document and accompanying informational materials and learn more about the proposed project and the public review process, including public hearing details and commenting opportunities.
What: Public comment period for the Delta Conveyance Project Draft EIR
When: 90-day comment period from July 27, 2022 through October 27, 2022
Where: Review Online at www.deltaconveyanceproject.com
Review In-Person: A digital copy of the Draft EIR is available at the following locations:
- DWR Office: 3500 Industrial Blvd., Room 117, West Sacramento, CA 95691
- Libraries: A full list of libraries across the state where the public can access the Draft EIR can be found
How: Members of the public can submit comments on the Draft EIR in the following ways:
- Email: [email protected]
- Online: deltaconveyanceproject.com
- Mail: Department of Water Resources, Attn: Delta Conveyance Office, P.O. Box 942836, Sacramento, CA 94236-0001
- Virtual Public Hearing: Provide verbal public comment at a virtual public hearing
- Tuesday, September 13, 2022, 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
- Thursday, September 22, 2022, 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.
- Wednesday, September 28, 2022, 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
About the Delta Conveyance Project: The purpose of the proposed Delta Conveyance Project is to modernize the aging State Water Project (SWP) water transport infrastructure in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to protect the reliability of this important water supply. In pursuing this project, DWR seeks to address the effects of sea level rise and climate change, minimize water supply disruption caused by an earthquake and provide operational flexibility to improve aquatic conditions in the Delta. The proposed Delta Conveyance Project would modernize the infrastructure used to move water through the Delta by adding new facilities in the north Delta to divert water and convey it through a tunnel to the SWP distribution facilities in the southern Delta. If approved, these infrastructure updates would help ensure climate resiliency and improve the reliability of the SWP. As the state’s largest source of safe, affordable, and clean water, the SWP serves 27 million Californians, 750,000 acres of farmland, and supports local water supply projects, such as local storage, recycling, groundwater recharge and water quality management.
About the DCA: The Delta Conveyance Design and Construction Authority (DCA), is a Joint Powers Authority of local public water agencies participating in, and benefitting from, the Delta Conveyance Project. With oversight from DWR, the DCA is responsible for design, engineering and eventually, if approved, construction of the project.
Informational Products Available:
About the Draft EIR
- What is the Draft EIR – Fact Sheet (English and Spanish)
- Tips: How to Comment on the Draft EIR – Fact Sheet (English and Spanish)
- Draft EIR “How To” Video Series
- Draft EIR Notification Flyer (English/Spanish, Chinese, Hmong)
- Draft EIR Notification Mailer (English/Spanish)
- Draft EIR Explained – Summary Booklet
- Draft EIR Resource Explainer Video Series
About the Delta Conveyance Project
- Overview and Update Fact Sheet
- Quick Questions Video Series
- Climate Realities – Short Social Media Video
- Project Story Map – Digital Brochure
- Deep Dive Video Series
- Comparing the Delta Conveyance Project to Previous Conveyance Proposals Fact Sheet
- Preliminary Design and Engineering Objectives Fact Sheet
- Delta Conveyance: A Fresh Look Yields a New Project, Digital Article
- Big Storms, Dry Spells, Demonstrate the Need for Improved Infrastructure and the Delta Conveyance Project – Digital Article
Restore the Delta released the “Over Troubled Waters” back in August of 2012.
Film synopsis according to their website
The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, the largest estuary on the west coast of the Americas, is a national treasure being squandered by greed. In this visually rich documentary, Ed Begley, Jr. narrates the story of the battle being fought by the people of the Delta to protect the region they love and to encourage saner water policies for the Golden State and all the people of California. Here you will see the powerful forces arrayed against the Delta and the history of promises broken by the government. Here you will see the habitat, fisheries, farming, and communities that are threatened by the mistaken ideas that drive California’s water policy today. And here you will see common-sense, affordable solutions that can lead to true water security for California in the 21st century.
“Governor Brown is about to reignite California’s water war, and it appears we’ll be refighting the old battle over a Peripheral Canal, but this time it’s a tunnel. The governor is set to propose two 33-foot-diameter peripheral tunnels that would carry part of the Sacramento River’s flow underneath the Delta for 37 miles to the California Aqueduct. The total cost is unknown; the financing unsecured, and the only certainty is water customers will pay billions and billions in increased rates,” said Restore the Delta Executive Director Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla. “It is disappointing that the governor is preparing to throw himself behind a 19th century approach to a 21st century water problem. Gov. Brown lost this battle when voters rejected the canal in 1982. His retooled peripheral canal, now costing more than $50 billion in today’s dollars, would likely meet the same fate. There’s a better solution. California can divert less water from the Delta and still meet its water needs by investing in water efficiency, water recycling, new technologies, and improved groundwater and storm water management.”
“Over Troubled Waters,” Restore the Delta’s long-awaited documentary, narrated by Ed Begley Jr., will have its premier at Sacramento’s Crest Theater on August 8, 2012. Many special guests will be in attendance. A second Northern California screening will be held on August 20, 2012 at the Empire Theater in Stockton. Congressman Jerry McNerney will kick off that evening’s festivities.