Coalition Statement on 21st Century Approach to Water Management for the Bay-Delta

  • Nov 13, 2017
  • Comment Letters

This Coalition Statement was prepared in response to the State Water Resources Control Board’s proposed changes to the Bay-Delta Water Quality Control Plan for the San Francisco Bay/Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Estuary (Bay-Delta Plan) related to Sacramento River, Delta flow, and water project operational requirements, specifically:

  • a Fact Sheet on the current status of the Phase II process, including a description of the proposed changes to the Bay-Delta Plan’s water quality objectives and implementation approach;
  • a series of questions for public input to help inform potential Phase II implementation measures in the Bay-Delta Plan;
  • the final Scientific Basis Report supporting potential Phase II changes to the Bay-Delta Plan and information on peer review of the report, including responses to peer review comments; and
  • hydrologic modeling information (the Sacramento Water Allocation Model or SacWAM) in support of Phase II, including an updated model and model output and responses to peer review comments on the model.

The State Water Board has recently released these materials for public review and early input, and they disclose proposals that would have significant negative impacts throughout California.

Statement excerpt:

Water suppliers in every part of California call on the Governor and both the state and federal
administrations to embrace a coordinated and modern 21st century approach to water management for the Bay-Delta by protecting all beneficial uses of water.

We share the current interest to improve fisheries and our agencies have made substantial investments and advanced programs for the benefit of fish. Furthermore, water suppliers acknowledge flow as an important component of habitat, and encourage a new approach where every drop of water serves a specific and targeted beneficial use or multiple uses. However, a flow only approach that fails to take steps to incorporate flow with habitat and other important species functions, such as proposed by the State Water Board in the Water Quality Control Planning process, will not improve species. Continuing on the path set by the State Water Board will not help the environment, it will not help water supplies throughout the State, and it will not help California successfully implement groundwater management. It could lead to an adjudication of the entire Bay-Delta watershed, which would threaten progress on ecosystem restoration and other priority water issues in the California Water Action Plan.

We offer this statement to set a new path. We support California’s co-equal goals of protecting, restoring and enhancing the Delta ecosystem and providing more reliable water supplies for California. We believe these goals can be achieved by holistically planning for ecosystem functions to ensure the most efficient use of water for all beneficial uses, by using the interaction of flow with other habitat aspects to create the type of conditions that allow us to meet our objectives. This requires us to take into account the altered physical landscape in California and our highly managed water system, which must be addressed in combination with appropriate hydrology to protect and balance all beneficial uses of water.

Download the Coalition Statement

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