Delta Doozy: Delta Water Won’t Meet CWA Standards Post-Waterfix

25 January 2017

Discussions about California water supplies have too often become fact-free discourses that fail to advance an informed discussion. The State Water Contractors’ “Delta Doozy” series was launched in order to distinguish the facts from the fiction and promote constructive dialogue.

Today’s Doozy comes in response to Restore the Delta’s statement regarding Governor Jerry Brown’s January 24 “State of the State” address and comments pertaining to new California infrastructure.

“It seems that Governor Brown plans to compromise the health and safety of Delta residents for a project that will leave the Delta with water that will fail to meet Clean Water Act standards. The proposed Delta Tunnels received low marks once again from the EPA in October of 2015. It will leave hundreds of thousands of people in the Delta, who are part of the California environmental justice communities, with degraded water quality, and will decimate California’s fisheries, and historic Delta farms.”

Truth be told: California WaterFix must meet all state and federal water quality standards, including the Clean Water Act. Day-to-day project operations will be adjusted on an ongoing basis to satisfy all water quality and flow requirements.

The recently-released Final Environmental Impact Report/Statement analyzes 18 project alternatives (including an alternative in which no tunnels are built) and concludes that California WaterFix is the best option for both improving California’s water supply reliability and the Delta’s ecosystem. The document includes extensive modeling of water quality issues related to the proposed operations, and the state has made it clear that day-to-day operations will be adjusted to ensure the project is in compliance with Clean Water Act. Compliance is not optional; it’s required. To say that California WaterFix will fail to meet these standards is simply untrue.


The State Water Contractors is a statewide, non-profit association of 27 public agencies from Northern, Central and Southern California that purchase water under contract from the California State Water Project. Collectively the State Water Contractors deliver water to more than 25 million residents throughout the state and more than 750,000 acres of agricultural land.