Op-Ed: California WaterFix Ensures Clean, Safe Water for Santa Clara County

In May, the Santa Clara Valley Water District Board of Directors voted to participate in the California WaterFix Project, the state’s plan to improve the infrastructure that carries water through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to Santa Clara County and other water customers throughout the state.

As part of our participation, we have a leadership role in the joint powers authority that will govern the project and see it through design and construction. This body is called the Delta Conveyance Design and Construction Authority, or DCA, and I have been designated chair of the DCA for the next two years.

The formation of the DCA represents a milestone in years of collaboration, and begins the process of ensuring that Santa Clara County will be able to get a clean and safe water supply while protecting the environment.

As the chair, I will ensure that our water district will lead the charge as we move ahead with the important work of improving water supply reliability for our county and the state. I look forward to the challenge of implementing this project, as the water district and our partners commit to continuing this work through transparent public processes.

The first meeting of the DCA took place in May, and the first meeting of a joint powers authority to manage the finances of the project took place in July. The water district has a representative on each of these boards. Our representative on the finance joint powers authority is my colleague, Dir. Gary Kremen, who was elected vice president of that body.

Participating in the project means that Santa Clara County will have a better chance of sustaining its imported water supply in the face of earthquakes, climate change and sea-level rise that threaten the Delta.

Protecting water supplies for homes and businesses in Silicon Valley is a top priority, and we’re still working to get the best deal for the residents and businesses here. The levees that make up the state’s water distribution system in the Delta are 50 years old and not engineered to withstand major earthquakes. Experts warn that a large earthquake could collapse this system and put our water supply at risk.

The California WaterFix is a $17 billion project to bring water from north of the Delta underground through two parallel tunnels to users south of the Delta, including Santa Clara County. The water district's anticipated share of the project cost is $650 million; this level of investment will allow us to offset the ongoing decline in our water deliveries from the Delta. To learn more about the DCA, visit dcdca.org.

Submitted on behalf of the Santa Clara Valley Water District. For further information, contact your elected district representative, Tony Estremera at [email protected]. Opinions in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of San Jose Inside. Send op-ed pitches to [email protected].


  1. You really should try other means of ‘fixing’ our water system – like raising dams so that reservoirs are maximized. Plus SoCal was miserable at conserving water during the last drought. We are rewarding their behavior by giving them more.

    In addition, I see farmers and ranchers installing new orchards and such and they have NOT also installed water-efficient irrigation systems. Throwing water into the air is a waste.

    Of course, those of us who live and work around the Delta are going to find our lives, businesses and property irreparably damaged by the tunnels and their affects on the water supply and the water quality, not to mention the potential damage constructing the tunnels will cause to land and the levees – all those trucks and vibration of the digging? Please…

    Did you see the photo of the concrete truck that fell in the Delta? Working on the ‘bridge to nowhere’, I’m told.

    If people proved their devotion to conserving water by joining in the effort to CONSERVE wisely, then we might not oppose the tunnels so much.
    But, that hasn’t happened, except on a tiny scale, so don’t act like the tunnels are the only and best solution.

  2. STOP THE TUNNELS! The water diverted out of the south delta for the past 40 years has already caused damage to the ecosystem. Most of that water is sent to So. Cal, where it’s used primarily for big Agri-business to grow pistachio and almonds to ship to China! The tunnels will prevent fresh water from reaching the south delta (and the bay), further stagnating and depleting our water system. We LIVE on the waterways, yet the farmers have to drill deep wells to irrigate farms. The 10 years of construction alone would devastate the economy by closing off waterways to build bridges for equipment and materials. We have few roads in and out of our communities; the traffic would be horrendous. And what are they going to do with all the muck they dig up? I’ve heard it will be left behind in gigantic piles to rot and stink.

    Does Santa Clara really believe they will be the beneficiaries of fresh water? The tunnels create a by-pass for fresh water to go around our neighborhood. It then will be dumped into the California Aquaduct…That water goes south, along highway 5, all the way to Bakersfield. I understand if they could cover the aquaduct, it would prevent 50% of the water evaporating on the trip down south. That seems like an easier and CHEAPER way to get more water down there without sucking one more drop out of an already suffering water system. Oh, and if you think it will only cost $14B to build the tunnels, then you’ve been fooled there too.

  3. Our Water District sold out when they were told they could get State funding for local projects. Sooooo, the Water Fix is a massive theft of Norcal water for Southern California… they will continue to p*ss away water as they always have.

  4. “WaterFix™”
    For clarity, this isn’t a fix, this is just someone else’s problem now (like people that live on and around the delta).

  5. > Participating in the project means that Santa Clara County will have a better chance of sustaining its imported water supply in the face of earthquakes, climate change and sea-level rise that threaten the Delta.

    This gives away the game.

    If they’re fretting about “climate change and sea-level rise that threaten the Delta”, they’re just ignorant frauds.

    California would be a prosperous place if it had abundant supplies of water. Unfortunately, there are those (“population controllers”, “no-growthers”, “deep ecologists”, primitivists) who want to severely limit California access to water so that the “human virus” goes away.

    It takes extraordinary effort to figure out who is for prosperity and who is for human extinction, but the effort is literally a matter of life or death for California.

  6. The water Board she is on is rife with dishonesty. They have meetings undercover and keep trying to push the tunnels through in secret. this is a disgusting and sad commentary on that board. RESIST THE TUNNELS!!!

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