The California WaterFix has received critical green lights from both state and federal officials over the past few weeks. Federal fishery scientists said the crucial water reliability project can co-exist with endangered fish and the Bay-Delta ecosystem. More recently, the State Department of Water Resources found that building and operating the water reliability project fully complies with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and protects fish, wildlife, and human health.

The pair of long-awaited decisions represent a pivotal point for the effort to modernize water supply delivery in the state. Given the official go-ahead, the WaterFix can now move forward to the critical design and construction phases.

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California WaterFix is the product of more than a decade of review, planning and rigorous scientific and environmental analysis by environmental experts, engineers and conservationists, as well as unprecedented public comment. Key steps were taken during the design effort to improve environmental conditions in the troubled Delta and mitigate or eliminate the impact of the new facility on the environment and Delta communities. The Delta’s evolving ecosystem and more than 1,000 miles of levees are increasingly vulnerable to earthquakes, flooding, saltwater intrusion, climate change and further environmental degradation.

Modernizing and improving California’s main water delivery system is essential for the state. The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta provides water for 25 million Southern California and Bay Area residents, 7 million acres of farmland and tens of thousands of businesses.

The coming months will be an important time for policymakers and decision makers as the future of millions of families, farms, and jobs hang in the balance. Improving water supply reliability is critical and the cost of inaction will have significant negative consequences for the state’s economy and quality of life.