How California can prepare for the next natural disaster – Daily News

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Natural disasters happen every day. Sometimes you know they are coming; other times they hit unexpectedly. In Houston and Florida over the last month, hurricanes have wreaked havoc beyond what emergency personnel predicted. Mexico experienced a 7.1 earthquake on the anniversary of its 1985 earthquake that had killed 10,000 people. Some natural disasters you can prepare for; others you can’t.

In California, we experience natural disasters all year long. Earthquakes strike unexpectedly, torrential rain leads to flooding and mudslides, and wildfires can occur at any time. No part of the golden state is exempt from natural disasters. The way they impact you personally depends on where you live and how prepared your local community is.

The Cucamonga Valley Water District is a public agency responsible for the water needs of the community, and we are constantly planning in order to prepare for and avoid as many disasters as possible. A large component of this planning is investing in our pipelines, reservoirs, and treatment plants, ensuring they are in good working condition and able to provide the needed water and wastewater service. Many communities throughout the state don’t commit to these types of investments and find themselves in the difficult situation of dealing with a broken pipeline, a sinkhole, or a collapsed dam that could cause untold damage.

Just as investments are made in our local water infrastructure, investments must be made in our statewide infrastructure as well. One consideration at the state level is the California WaterFix. Working together, government, environmental, and business leaders have developed a proposal on how to address major concerns about the instability of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. The California WaterFix proposes a renovation of the way water moves through the Delta, including the construction of two “tunnels” to ensure water can travel throughout the state in the event that one of the pipelines is deemed unusable. It improves water supply reliability and adds protections for endangered fish species in the Delta.

This project is of particular interest to the Cucamonga Valley Water District because in any given year we get 40-50 percent of our water supply from northern California via the Delta. As a district, we are doing everything we can to maximize local water supplies. However, we will never be wholly reliant on our local canyon and groundwater resources; we will always need to rely on water that is delivered to us from 400 miles away. In order to make sure our customers have the water they need each day to live, work and play, we need to ensure a reliable statewide water infrastructure. The California WaterFix is the solution we need; and we need it today.

James V. Curatalo Jr., president, Cucamonga Valley Water District.

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