Final Delta Plan Continues to be Inefficient
Fails to Include Measurable Actions for Protecting the Delta
The Delta Stewardship Council has just released their Final Draft of the Delta Plan, along with the Draft Program Environmental Report, and corresponding Draft Regulations for a forty-five day public review period.
This Final Delta Plan fails to include essential measurable actions for meeting the Council’s legal mandate for protecting the Delta. According to Restore the Delta Executive Director, Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, “The measurable actions left out of the Delta Plan include a much needed water availability analysis to determine how much water can be taken from the Delta; a water quality analysis to see how future water export projects will effect Delta water quality; and balancing of the public trust to determine to determine how the state should use water, our most essential public resource, for the greatest good.
A plan that fails to address how much water the Delta needs for restoration is simply incomplete and will fail in its implementation. We cannot continue to export half of the fresh water from the estuary and expect it not to completely collapse, let alone reach a point of healing.”
Clearly, the Delta Plan, which is to serve as the blueprint for meeting the state mandated coequal goals for the Delta of providing a more reliable water supply for California and for protecting, restoring, and enhancing the Delta ecosystem, is an insufficient plan. Barrigan-Parrilla adds, “Our fear since the legislation was passed in 2009 has been that the Delta Stewardship Council would not be able to balance the coequal goals, which are irreconcilable. Fresh water flows through the Delta must first be restored in order for the state to protect, restore, and enhance the Delta ecosystem. To provide a more reliable water supply for California, the Delta Stewardship Council must look beyond the Delta and promote a rigorous development of water systems that lead to regional self-sufficiency so as to break dependence on Delta water exports. Only then, can the Council meet its mandate of meeting the coequal goals in a manner that will protect and enhance the unique cultural, recreational, natural resource and agricultural values of the Delta in addition to securing a reliable water supply.
The Delta Plan as it now stands is nothing more than a water export plan dressed up with some habitat creation projects. First and foremost, fish need sufficient water flows and good quality water. So do the 4 million people who live and work in the Delta and whose lives are tied to the $6 billion annual Delta agriculture and recreation economies.”