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California Waterfix Presentation

Back in July 2018, the Metropolitan Water District’s Board of Directors voted to authorize the payment of $10.8 billion dollars towards the construction of the California Water Fix Project, an effort to build two 40 foot diameter tunnels that would retrofit the State Water Project Delivery System. ASCE Los Angeles Younger Member Forum was lucky enough to have John Bednarski, Section Manager from the Metropolitan Water District (MWD) and lead for the California Water Fix Project for MWD, to explain more about the California Water Fix and what the future of the project entails.

Mr. Bednarksi explained that Southern California is dependant on imported water. The Los Angeles area receives water from the Colorado River Aqueduct, the Los Angeles Aqueduct, and the State Water Project that supplements water from local sources. The California Water Fix focuses on the Sacramento/San Joaquin Bay-Delta area, the origin of the State Water project, which delivers water from the Delta to municipalities in the San Francisco Bay Area and Southern California, and irrigation in the Central Valley.

Currently, the Delta is facing a few risks that range from salt water intrusion into the Delta due to seismic activity or sea level rise and the impedance of use of the pumps that supply the State Water project whenever endangered fish species are present. These risks reduce the short and long term reliability of the State Water project and therefore, the California Water Fix was proposed as a solution.

The project consists of three intake locations along the Sacramento River that would naturally collect water flowing down the river through fish screens that would prevent any endangered species to be captured. The water would travel through 13.5 miles of various diameter tunnels to collect in an intermediate forebay. Water would then travel through the main twin 30 miles long, 40 foot internal diameter tunnels with 2 feet thick concrete liners to a main forebay and would then begin down the State Water Project.

The Water Fix project is still in its infancy and will soon begin its design phase. Currently a joint powers authority, the Delta Conveyance Design and Construction Joint Powers Authority, has been created to oversee the project. Its members consist of the major financial contributors to the project including: the Metropolitan Water District, the Santa Clara Valley Water District, Alameda County Zone 7 Water Agency, and the San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District. The project is estimated to take approximately 18 years to be constructed and commissioned.

The presentation was held for approximately 45 of our members at the Luminaries restaurant. If this sounded interesting to you, please be on the lookout for future technical presentations!

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