California’s plan to build a pair of massive tunnels to move Sacramento River water past the Delta and into the state’s water distribution system has reached a milestone. After a decade of planning and analysis, the state’s Department of Water Resources (DWR) has given the project the go ahead. Construction of the twin tunnels could begin as soon as 2018.

The $15 billion construction project —named the California WaterFix — aims to provide millions of Californians with a more reliable water supply. The project would send water to Southern Californians and Central Valley farmers via two 30-mile long tunnels under the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California says the tunnels are vital to stabilizing deliveries of Northern California water that on average provide the Southland with about a third of its supplies.

The plan is endorsed by engineers, scientists, water agencies, environmental groups, and California’s Governor. It was chosen because it is “a science-driven upgrade to our aging water system that will provide clean, reliable water while protecting our environment.” Support also comes from farmers, businesses, labor unions and nonprofit groups.

We must deal with longstanding infrastructure challenges. We are finally grappling with the long-term sustainability of our water supply — Edmund Brown Jr., Governor of California

We support California WaterFix to enhance water security for Southern California, leading to orderly and sustainable growth and employment — Tom Foss, Trustee, Southern California Partnership for Jobs

DWR pursues the California WaterFix to safeguard water supplies for future generations. It takes the sophisticated use of water to make California the most populous state in the nation, with the most productive farm economy and a rich abundance of wildlife and natural beauty — State Department of Water Resources

California WaterFix will help protect an essential water delivery supply. Securing its reliability will protect nearly one million jobs statewide, based on a University of California study. Secure employment leads to healthy consumer demand, which encourages business development and growth — Municipal Water District of Orange County

The costs that would be allocated to Metropolitan are reasonable and affordable, given the water supply reliability improvements — Metropolitan Water District of Southern California

California WaterFix will create 118, 772 new construction jobs and $7 billion in employee compensation — California Natural Resources Agency

77% of Californians view the California WaterFix as ‘important’ — Public Policy Institute of California