Analysis Shows Delta Conveyance Project Benefits Far Exceed Costs

  • by ACWA Staff
  • May 16, 2024
  • Water News

SACRAMENTO – Today, the Department of Water Resources (DWR) released a benefit-cost analysis for the Delta Conveyance Project that finds the infrastructure modernization project would create billions of dollars in benefits for California communities, including reliable water supplies, climate change adaptation, earthquake preparedness and improved water quality.

According to the analysis, the project will deliver nearly $38 billion in benefits, preventing both water shortages and water rationing, and saving more water during wet years. For every $1 spent, $2.20 in benefits would be generated. The analysis also shows the very real cost of doing nothing, posing significant future challenges to supplying water to California communities.

“The Delta Conveyance Project passes the benefit-cost test readily, with benefits that are more than double the cost,” Dr. David Sunding, Emeritus Professor, UC Berkeley, who led the benefit-cost analysis, stated in a DWR news release. “The project enables ongoing demands to be satisfied and water supply reliability to be maintained,” he said, adding “the benefits clearly justify the costs.”

As climate change and regulatory constraints cause water supplies to diminish over time, the reliability of the State Water Project infrastructure is in jeopardy, putting 27 million Californians and 750,000 acres of farmland at risk, according to DWR’s news release, which described the analysis as providing a “compelling financial rationale for the public water agencies funding the project to be able continue to provide affordable, safe, clean and reliable water supply.”

“If we do nothing to shore up the State Water Project’s aging infrastructure, California’s primary and most affordable water supply faces continued reliability risk and remains vulnerable to increasing weather extremes that could lead to supply disruptions,” State Water Contractors General Manager Jennifer Pierre stated in a news release. “DWR’s analysis demonstrates that the Delta Conveyance Project’s benefits far outweigh the costs and that investing in the project is more efficient and economical than allowing our current infrastructure and supplies to decline.”

The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California also issued a statement about the analysis from General Manager Adel Hagekhalil.

“The State Water Project is a vital supply line for Southern California, as we learned all too well during the last drought, when more than 6 million residents in our region struggled to get the minimum supplies they needed for basic human health and safety,” Hagekhalil stated. “Climate-driven risks and other challenges in California, and across the southwest, threaten the ability to ensure reliable water for our region, home to 19 million people and the world’s 11th largest economy. The Delta Conveyance Project proposes to address some of these challenges and helps us keep pace with climate change.”

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