THIS JUST IN … DWR forms partnership for design and construction of WaterFix; JPA charged with constructing California Water Fix holds inaugural meeting; Delta County Supervisors in staunch opposition to WaterFix construction

DWR Forms Partnership for Design and Construction of WaterFix

From the Department of Water Resources:

Today the Department of Water Resources (DWR) entered into a Joint Exercise of Powers Agreement with the Delta Conveyance Design and Construction Authority (DCA), forming a partnership for the design and construction of California WaterFix.

“This agreement signals a key step toward implementation of WaterFix, and this partnership represents a true collaboration in the best interests of California,” said DWR Director Karla Nemeth. “We look forward to working with the DCA to finalize permitting and design, and to safely and efficiently build WaterFix.”

The DCA is a public agency composed of local public water agencies who are investing in California WaterFix, a project to upgrade the state’s outdated water delivery system to maintain a reliable source of water for 27 million Californians and more than 3 million acres of farmland while restoring more natural flow conditions in the Delta.

The DCA will pool the expertise and resources available from DWR, public water agencies, and consultants to safely and transparently design, construct and deliver the project on time and budget, in accordance with approved DWR specifications.

DWR will oversee the work of the DCA, and will own and operate the project as part of the State Water Project once construction is complete.

Joint Powers Authority charged with constructing California Water Fix holds inaugural meeting; signs agreement with State

From the Delta Conveyance Design and Construction Authority:

At its inaugural meeting, the Delta Conveyance Design and Construction Joint Powers Authority (DCA) approved and signed an agreement with the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) delineating their joint partnership to construct the California WaterFix project.

Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD), Santa Clara Valley Water District (SCVWD), Alameda County Zone 7 Water Agency (Zone 7) and San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District serve as the founding members of the DCAThe DCA’s current Board of Directors includes:

  • Director/President of the Board: Tony Estremera, SCVWD
  • Director/Vice President of the Board: Richard Atwater, MWD/Foothill Municipal Water District
  • Director: Steve Blois, MWD/Calleguas Municipal Water District
  • Director/Secretary of the Board: Sarah Palmer, State Water Project Contract At Large Member/Zone 7

Last week, DWR established the Delta Conveyance Office (DCO), which will manage the work of the DCA.

DCA Board President Tony Estremera and DWR Director Karla Nemeth signed a Joint Exercise of Powers Agreement that calls for the DCA to construct California WaterFix on behalf of the state with ongoing oversight by DWR.

“Today we embark on a new era for water in California. This agreement marks an important step in planning for the future, and we look forward to working closely with the state to make the California WaterFix a reality,” said DCA Board President Tony Estremera. “We have a lot of work to do to ensure our state has the water infrastructure necessary to support the California way of life, our environment and our economy.”

“This agreement signals a key step toward implementation of WaterFix, and this partnership represents a true collaboration in the best interests of California,” said DWR Director Karla Nemeth. “We look forward to working with the DCA to finalize permitting and design, and to safely and efficiently build WaterFix.”

In other actions, the DCA hired Jill Duerig as its interim executive director and Stefanie Morris as its interim general counsel. Duerig recently retired as general manager of Zone 7, a Bay Area member of the State Water Contractors. Morris is an attorney with the Best Best & Krieger law firm and has represented the State Water Contractors as well as other water districts.

The public meeting was held downtown at the Sacramento Public Library’s Tsakopoulos Galleria and webcast via the DCA’s website.

The DCA’s next meeting will be held at the Library Galleria on June 21, 2018, at 2:00 p.m.

Delta Supervisors in Staunch Opposition to WaterFix Construction

From the Delta Counties Coalition:

The Delta Counties Coalition offered public comment in response to the formation of the new Delta Conveyance Design and Construction Joint Powers Authority at its board meeting today.

Contra Costa County Supervisor Diane Burgis stated, “Some have called the WaterFix a diabolical plan, bold, and presumptuous. The Delta is a special and unique place. It is the largest estuary west of the Mississippi river and home to many historical legacy communities and towns, a thriving agricultural economy, diverse geography, and many natural resources. Those of us who are directly impacted are being locked out.”

Sacramento County Supervisor Don Nottoli stated, “Many of the Delta communities were settled around the time of the Gold Rush era, and in some cases, today are a part of a legacy of seven, maybe even eight, generations of farming families and Delta residents. Quiet rural farming areas will be transformed into gigantic construction zones, more akin to an industrial complex than tranquil country settings. Impacts of these prolonged and intense activities, sometimes seven days a week, 24 hours a day for years, will undoubtedly affect the quality of life and daily activities of these rural farming towns. It will likely displace people from their homes, creating economic uncertainty for many small businesses, for farmers and agritourism, and negatively affect the recreational, fishing, boating, eco-tourism activities.”

San Joaquin County Supervisor Chuck Winn stated, “We have the opportunity to build a world class water system, but instead we are getting a flawed, inadequate, and enormously expensive project that will not benefit the residents of California.”

“We are concerned because we think the ultimate costs of the project will be much, much higher than $17 Billion as witnessed with other megaprojects,” remarked Yolo County Supervisor Oscar Villegas. “There is a finite capacity to generate ratepayer dollars for investment in water system improvements and WaterFix will effectively squeeze out the ability to invest in more beneficial and cost-effective projects.”

Solano County Supervisor Skip Thomson said, “Expediting the project with a JPA at this point in time is grossly inappropriate. Where it may make the Governor happy, it is bad public policy to acquire land, design, and construct the proposed project before it is fully permitted and before environmental impacts identified. In addition, many lawsuits are pending and bonds have not been validated.”

The DCC is an alliance of the counties of Contra Costa, Sacramento, San Joaquin, Solano and Yolo. The DCC advocates for protecting the interests of the Delta and California’s water supply and has produced a set of approaches that will achieve balance for the economic and environmental health of the Delta while also improving water supply stability. Visit sharedwatersolutions.com.

 

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