Rep. Matsui, Sacramento Leaders Share Concerns About BDCP

U.S. Rep. Doris Matsui (D-Sacramento) and several other elected leaders and local water officials from the Sacramento region met Thursday for a lunchtime forum on the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) and its environmental and economic impacts on the region.

In addition to Matsui, Sacramento City Council Member Darrell Fong and Sacramento County Supervisor Don Nottoli voiced concerns about the BDCP as proposed. The forum, held at the Sacramento Convention Center, took place the same day as a public meeting on BDCP at the Red Lion hotel in Sacramento.

Matsui warned that Sacramento County and the region could face “severe consequences” if the BDCP preferred alternative goes forward without modification. She called on the  region’s leadership to work together with one voice to avoid an outcome that would bring “no benefits — only massive impacts” to upstream water users.

“Now we have an opportunity to get this right; we can get this right. We can’t sit around; we can’t sit on the sidelines,” Matsui said.

The forum was organized by the Regional Water Authority and the city and county of Sacramento.

Matsui said an alternative “portfolio-based” approach to the BDCP — even though it’s imperfect — should also be studied. The concept, brought forward in January by a coalition of environmental groups,  calls for a scaled-down conveyance facility in the Delta as well as complementary investments in local water supply sources. The proposal also seeks to bolster water storage south of the Delta and improve levees in the estuary. Some urban water agencies have voiced support for studying the portfolio-based alternative as part of the BDCP process.

Nottoli, who is a member of the Delta Stewardship Council, said water users in Northern California need to be aware that new regulations that come out of the BDCP will likely impact them if a project moves water through the Delta. Nottoli, like Matsui, also urged the region to come together.

Fong told the audience that the city of Sacramento is concerned about the future of its water supply, and he detailed how the area has invested $350 million on water conservation measures.

“We want to be part of the solution. This is a statewide problem,” Fong said.