Last month we celebrated the 100 year anniversary of the L.A. Aqueduct — a historic project constructed by William Mulholland to bring water to L.A. and transform our region into an economic powerhouse for our state and nation.
Today we find ourselves at another “Mulholland” moment in California’s history with the release of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP). This 33,000 page, 50-year planning document released by State and Federal agencies last week articulates the necessity of a $25 billion upgrade of our state’s water conveyance system combined with the restoration of more than 150,000 acres of habitat in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. The plan to stabilize the Delta will assure the reliability of California’s water supply for 25 million residents and the hundreds of thousands of businesses that depend on it.
The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta is the heart of the water supply for 60 percent of the residents of California and its future is at risk. From high-tech companies in Silicon Valley to agriculture in the Central Valley, the entertainment industry in Los Angeles to tourism in San Diego, all of California’s regions and key economic sectors rely on water that passes through the Delta.
Last month State officials announced that California is entering its third consecutive year of extreme drought and is on course to have the driest year on record. Legislators have called on Gov. Jerry Brown to declare a state of emergency, underscoring the need for us to modernize our water delivery system and put in place more plans to conserve water as well. It is imperative that every region of the State, especially Southern California, continue to reduce its dependence on imported water via efficiency measures and the development of local supplies through recycling and groundwater cleanup. All of these efforts, along with the BDCP will be essential to maintain the long-term success of California as a great place to live and work.
The 120-day public comment period for the BDCP opened last week and closes on April 14, 2014. I encourage every business and resident in Los Angeles to express their support for this critical project and offer their suggestions. The future of California is at stake for more than the next 100 years. William Mulholland knew that when he built the L.A. Aqueduct 100 years ago and we know it today.