The Shortcut Pipeline — the primary source of drinking water for Martinez that needs fixing — got a boost from the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors.

The board officially added its backing to the Contra Costa Water District’s pursuit of grant funding for the $14 million project in the form of a letter of support.

Built in 1972, the five-mile pipeline carries an average of 13 million gallons of untreated water per day from the Contra Costa Canal in Clyde to the Martinez Reservoir.

According to a staff report for the board’s March 29 meeting, “an inspection in 2018 identified a compromised section of pipeline under the western flood control levee of the Lower Walnut Creek channel … Adding risk, the approximate half-mile section of compromised pipeline is also near the Concord Fault. It has been determined this section of the pipeline is no longer reliable.”

CCWD is trying to obtain federal funding through the Senate Energy and Water Development Bill (Fiscal Year 2023) for construction. The district also seeks outside funding through state and federal implementation, infrastructure and hazard mitigation grant programs.

The pipeline is very important to Martinez, providing water to homes, businesses and for the city’s public safety. CCWD has fixed three leaks on the line over the years, including one near Walnut Creek and the Concord Fault after the Loma Prieta Earthquake.

Officially the Shortcut Pipeline Phase 3 Improvements Project would install two high density polyethylene pipelines under the Walnut Creek channel and connect them to the existing pipeline to bypass the damaged section of pipe.

Having two pipelines ensures sufficient capacity and provides increased redundancy and seismic reliability. The pipelines will be installed by Horizontal Directional Drilling.

CCWD anticipates the project will go to bid February 2023 and construction would start in August 2023 and run through December 2024.