ACWA Issues Statement on Delta Stewardship Council's Draft EIR

Sacramento - Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA) Executive Director Timothy Quinn issued the following statement today on the release of a draft environmental impact report (EIR) for the Delta Stewardship Council’s Delta Plan.

“Based on our preliminary read, we continue to have major concerns with the approach the Delta Stewardship Council is taking with its Delta Plan and the environmental review.

“Though we haven’t had time to review and analyze all 2,200 pages, this document – like the draft Delta Plan itself – does not create a clear path for meeting the co-equal goals of improving water supply and ecosystem health, potentially missing this critical opportunity to make real progress.

“The draft EIR identifies the council’s plan as the environmentally superior alternative, yet the plan itself is so lacking in specifics that it’s difficult to assign much meaning to that. And since there has been no quantitative assessment yet of the degree to which the plan or any of the alternatives will meet the co-equal goals, the draft EIR’s conclusion that the staff alternative is superior has no factual basis whatever. We are truly left wondering if this exercise has any chance of getting us where we need to be.

“The draft EIR completely mischaracterizes the alternate plan submitted by our Ag-Urban Coalition. It fails to acknowledge the comprehensive approach we proposed to address both the ecosystem and water supply reliability. Our plan outlines near-, mid- and long-term specific actions to get there, and that seems to be totally lost in this draft EIR.

“We have a historic opportunity to take a more comprehensive approach to water and ecosystem management. In the water community, local agencies have increasingly embraced a more comprehensive approach, investing in a wide range of water management tools through integrated regional water management planning. Yet the council’s plan appears to continue to embrace a decades-old failed strategy that emphasizes flows over all other management tools to address ecosystem health. That approach has not worked in the past, and there is too much at stake to assume it will work in this case."

Other Ag-Urban Coalition members available for comment:

  • David Guy, Northern California Water Association, 916-442-8333
  • John Kingsbury, Mountain Counties Water Resources Association, 530-957-7879