December 19, 2023 — The Department of Water Resources released the Final Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the proposed Delta Conveyance Project on December 8. The project is expected to be an essential piece of the state’s strategy to protect water access for millions of Californians. It was redesigned following public input and Governor Newsom’s pledge of converting the project to one tunnel to better support both environmental and water supply needs.
The Delta Conveyance Project is a proposal to modernize water infrastructure in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta by making physical improvements to how the state captures and moves water during wet years for use in dry years with a tunnel system. The proposed Delta Conveyance Project is intended to restore the reliability of the State Water Project and ensure California’s largest supply of clean and affordable water for 27 million people and 750,000 acres of farmland is protected from earthquakes and climate-driven weather extremes.
By 2040, California is expected to lose 10% of its water supply due to hotter temperatures. The Department of Water Resources writes that during January’s atmospheric rivers, the Delta Conveyance Project could have captured enough water for 2.3 million peoples’ yearly usage. Until this year, the state faced its three driest years on record. Extreme weather whiplash will result in more intense swings between droughts and floods. California’s 60-year-old State Water Project infrastructure is not built for these climate effects.
Image: Delta Conveyance Project Final Environmental Impact Report cover via California Department of Water Resources.