Legislative Package Implementation

The Legislature enacted a comprehensive water package in November 2009 aimed at improving the state’s water supply reliability and restoring the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta ecosystem.

The package included four policy bills and an $11.14 billion general obligation bond measure now targeted for the November 2012 ballot.

Critical work is ahead as the legislative package moves into the implementation phase. State agencies have initiated several implementation processes on a fast track toward decisions later in 2011.

ACWA co-sponsored a series of informational forums on the comprehensive water package. The forums were aimed at educating local elected officials, opinion leaders and the general public on key elements of the legislative package.

Key Processes

Delta Governance

The package established a new governance structure for the Delta and a framework for achieving the co-equal goals of providing a more reliable water supply and restoring the Delta ecosystem.

The Delta Stewardship Council is a major component of the new governance structure. The council is tasked with developing a Delta Plan to guide state and local actions in the Delta in a manner that furthers the co-equal goals.

Groundwater Elevation Monitoring

The legislative package requires local agencies to monitor the elevation of their groundwater basins to help better manage the resource during both normal water years and drought conditions.

ACWA is working closely with member agencies and the Department of Water Resources to develop a strategy / action plan (using to the fullest extent possible existing local programs) for meeting the requirements of the legislation and to satisfy the needs of all parties.

Conservation

The 2009 legislative package established a statewide water conservation program that requires a 20% reduction in urban per-capita water use by 2020. It also requires development of agricultural water management plans by Dec. 31, 2012.

The legislation identifies multiple pathways for compliance with the urban conservation requirements, including an incentive-based Option 4 to be developed by the Department of Water Resources.

ACWA is working with member agencies and the DWR to define the best way to develop and implement Option 4.

Delta Flows

The legislative package requires the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) to develop new flow criteria for the Delta ecosystem to protect public trust resources.

The State Board has adopted interim flow criteria for the Delta that call for significantly increased flows into and through the Delta, particularly during the winter and spring months. The criteria have been transmitted to the Delta Stewardship Council to help inform development of the Delta Plan.

 

Informational Forums

ACWA co-sponsored a series of informational forums on the comprehensive water package. The forums were aimed at educating local elected officials, opinion leaders and the general public on key elements of the legislative package. Presenters included water experts, state and local leaders and others involved in developing and implementing the package.

Forum hosts included the California Latino Water Coalition, ACWA and the State of California. Local sponsors also provided support.

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