ACWA Urges State Water Board to Embrace Collaborative Approach with Bay-Delta Plan Update

  • by Will Holbert
  • Jul 27, 2018
  • Water News

In a comment letter issued July 27, ACWA Executive Director Timothy Quinn called on the State Water Resource Control Board to reconsider recently proposed amendments to the Bay-Delta Plan update that support an unimpaired flows approach, urging that the State Water Board instead take the collaborative approach outlined in the Brown Administration’s California Water Action Plan.

The State Water Board’s proposed amendments would set unimpaired flows at 40% for February through June on the Stanislaus, Tuolumne and Merced rivers through to the San Joaquin River. It also released framework documents that proposed 55% unimpaired flows for the Sacramento River and Delta.

“ACWA strongly believes that the policy of coequal goals set forth in state law and emphasized in the California Water Action Plan has the potential to put California on a path that includes both a vibrant agricultural and urban economy and a healthy ecosystem,” the comment letter states. “However, the State Water Board’s proposed approach in the Bay-Delta Plan is inconsistent with the coequal goals of improving water supply reliability and enhancing the Delta ecosystem established in the Delta Reform Act of 2009.

“By reducing available surface water supplies and triggering increased groundwater pumping, the approach works against the goals of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (“SGMA”). The proposed approach would additionally undermine the implementation of the California Water Action Plan, particularly in the areas of improving water supply reliability, sustainably managing groundwater, and providing safe drinking water for all communities.”

ACWA has also signed onto another opposition letter to the State Water Board from a coalition led by the California Farm Bureau Federation. This is the latest in numerous actions ACWA has taken over the years to shift the State Water Board’s thinking on flows. During March 2017, ACWA and many members, along with agricultural and water stakeholders, submitted comments to the State Water Board that expressed strong opposition to State Water Board staff over the proposed amendments and offered significant policy, technical and legal arguments in support of ACWA’s case.

Meanwhile, ACWA has solicited members to support its policy statement on Bay-Delta Flow Requirements and, to date, 147 member or agency resolutions including letters of support have been received by ACWA.

 

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