Another View: There’s no time to waste on Gov. Brown’s Delta plan

An aerial photo shows the area near Courtland that would be affected by the Delta water tunnels.
An aerial photo shows the area near Courtland that would be affected by the Delta water tunnels. Sacramento Bee file

In response to The Sacramento Bee’s editorial (“Limiting Delta restoration goals, promising more,” May 1), we want to underscore the importance of moving forward with Gov. Jerry Brown’s “California Water Fix” to accelerate restoration of the Delta’s ecosystem and fix the state’s aging water infrastructure. The historic drought has shown that we simply can’t afford to wait to address our state’s growing water crisis.

We join a vast coalition of citizens, working families, business leaders, family farmers, water experts and community-based groups in supporting the governor’s plan to update the aging system that supplies water to 25 million Californians and 3 million acres of farmland.

Our failure to adequately invest in our water infrastructure is contributing significantly to our lack of water during this drought. Our reservoirs are near empty; our groundwater sources dangerously low. And while we cannot control how much it rains, had we made investments in our infrastructure in the past, we could have had the capacity to better move and store water during wet years that could have been available now.

Two-thirds of water for Californians starts in the Sierra Nevada and flows through the state’s main water distribution system through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. But this system of aging dirt levees, aqueducts, pumps and pipes is inefficient, outdated and at risk of collapse in a major earthquake or flood.

The California Water Fix is the culmination of nearly a decade of extensive review, planning and analysis by the state’s leading water experts, engineers and conservationists, and unprecedented public comment and participation.

The plan will improve the reliability of our water supplies by building a modern pipeline and protecting our supply from earthquakes, floods and natural disasters. It will improve the ability to move water to storage facilities throughout the state so we can use it in dry years. And it will restore more natural water flows to reduce impacts on endangered fish and other wildlife.

There’s no time to waste. We need to move forward with the governor’s plan to secure our limited water supply now and into the future.

Allan Zaremberg is president of the California Chamber of Commerce. Robbie Hunter is president of the State Building and Construction Trades Council of California.