Governor, Interior Secretary Outline Path Forward for BDCP
Gov. Jerry Brown, U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Assistant Administrator for Fisheries Eric Schwaab today outlined revisions to the proposed Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) that, along with a full range of alternative proposals, will undergo a rigorous public environmental review in the coming months.
Speaking at a joint press conference in Sacramento, the officials said California’s water system is unsustainable from an environmental and economic perspective and called the BDCP a key part of a comprehensive solution to achieve the dual goals of a reliable water supply for California and a healthy California Bay Delta ecosystem that supports the state’s economy.
They said the revised BDCP approach is grounded in science and designed to help restore fish populations, protect water quality and improve the reliability of water supplies for water users who receive deliveries from state and federal projects.
Key elements of a preferred proposal include the construction of water intake facilities with a total capacity of 9,000 cubic feet per second -- down from an earlier proposal of 15,000 cfs – operations of which would be phased in over several years and a conveyance designed to use gravity flow to maximize energy efficiency and to minimize environmental impact. Many other alternatives, including no conveyance facility, and facilities with capacities ranging from 3,000 to 15,000 cfs, will also be fully considered as part of the upcoming environmental review process.
Now that the key elements have been identified, state and federal agencies expect to issue a draft Bay Delta Conservation Plan and corresponding Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement for public review this fall.
“In recognition that water supply reliability and affordability elements are vitally important to the public water agencies who are expected to pay for any proposed facilities, the state and federal agencies will work intensively with the public water agencies and other interested parties over the next 90 days to address these important questions. State and federal agencies will continue to refine the proposals announced today and will issue a major progress report after the completion of this initial work,” the joint news release said.
In a statement, ACWA Executive Director Timothy Quinn said the proposed plan's combination of habitat restoration and conveyance improvements distinguishes the BDCP from past efforts to address the Delta and makes the process the state's best option for meeting the coequal goals of improved ecosystem health and water supply reliability.
"We congratulate the governor and the Interior secretary for their leadership in identifying more specific elements of a proposed plan and a path forward for this key process. We also applaud them for stressing the importance of achieving the coequal goals," Quinn said. "Though there is still much work to be done, progress is being made. We urge the governor and the secretary to keep the process on track and complete the BDCP in a way that works for the entire state.”
Materials from the announcement are available on the BDCP website, including
- Press Release
- California's Water Future Framework Brochure
- Joint Announcement Q&A
- July 16, 2012 Joint Recommendations Working Draft
- Current Conditions for Fish Compared to the BDCP - Fact Sheet
- Audio Recording of Joint Announcement
Numerous organizations released statements in response to the announcement. A compilation of statements can be found on the Aquafornia website here.