Last week at the Sacramento River Watershed Forum, a number of important topics were discussed — too many to list here. We think, however, that our readers need to understand two salient points from the meeting.
The panelists and attendees were made up of representatives from government water agencies that work on water, consultants who do research, studies, and reports on behalf of these agencies, and a few legislative staffers for the State for good measure.
One panel consisted of representatives from State and Federal agencies who discussed the role of their agencies. Restore the Delta’s Brett Baker reports that many of these representatives could not articulate where their agency’s work ended and another agency’s work began. After twenty years of CalFed, Delta Vision, BDCP and the Delta Plan, we find this lack of agency understanding highly disturbing.
Most dismaying, however, were comments made by the Chair of the State Water Resources Control Board Charles Hoppin. He expressed his view of the SWRCB’s role in determining adequate water quality standards in the Delta, saying that the flow recommendations that were unanimously adopted by the Board last year must be ” reconciled with reality.” He then went on to say that the Board was waiting on defining standards on the San Joaquin River and the South Delta until they had heard from BDCP. Hoppin attempted to back pedal on this statement after later being questioned as to whether stakeholder driven processes like BDCP were directing efforts of government agencies like the State Water Resources Control Board, but his second reply was less than convincing.
Our government agencies are unclear about what they do and for whom. We hope that Restore the Delta supporters remind them that they work for the citizens of California.