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Bay-Delta Water Quality: Submit Your Written Comments by 3/17!

Update 1.9.17: Make an extra impact. Join us in sending a petition the State Water Board on the Bay-Delta Water Quality Control Plan, click here to sign.

In 2016, thousands of Restore the Delta supporters signed a petition urging the State Water Resources Control Board to update outdated water quality standards for the Bay-Delta region. Hundreds also showed up to speak up at recent hearings in Sacramento and Stockton in December of 2016, watch them here or check out our previous live tweets.
The outdated 20-year-old Bay-Delta Water Quality Control Plan allows more than half the water needed for the delta’s ecological health to be diverted away for unsustainable Big Agriculture on the west and south San Joaquin Valley.
The State Water Resources Control Board is currently in Phase I of updating the plan. We need to make sure that the State Water Board gets it right and is not influenced by special interests. New water quality standards that truly protect communities and species is a proactive step that helps ensure reliable water supplies for all water users of the Bay-Delta. Learn more about water quality here.
Submit your comments via e-mail or postal mail! Deadline: March 17, 2017 at 12:00 P.M. The State Water Board announced during the public hearing in Modesto that they anticipate releasing a final SED (Substitute Environmental Document) and plan in May 2017 and considering it for adoption in July 2017.
Here are some important points to make:

1) A permanent reduction of exports must happen to protect the Delta. What is the true efficacy of this update to SJ flow standards if water exports from the Delta are not going to be dealt with? The San Joaquin River must reach Chipps Island in order to restore, protect, and preserve the entire estuary. If unsustainable water exports are not dealt with, we worry that water quality and quantity objectives for the Delta will never be met.
2) We do not want to see a weakening of salinity standards in the South Delta. Water quality standards must be protected for agriculture, drinking water, municipal discharge, fisheries, recreation, and ground water recharge, and to reduce the future risk of increased harmful algal blooms that are toxic to humans, dogs, fish, and wildlife in south Delta channels.
3) The State Water Board must consider environmental justice communities in terms of drinking water and domestic use. Phase 1 Recirculated Draft SED fails to consider environmental justice communities in chapters 5 and 9 (hydrology/water quality and groundwater).
4) We believe that water flows on the San Joaquin River must be adequate to restore and protect fisheries—and to protect the public trust value of the Bay-Delta estuary. A 40% restoration of flows will not accomplish this end. Science tells us that we need 60% of flows restored on the San Joaquin River for the health of the Bay-Delta.


The State Water Board will accept both written and oral comments on the proposed Plan Amendment and the SED. Written comments must be received no later than 12:00 noon on March 17, 2017, and addressed and submitted to:
Jeanine Townsend, Clerk to the Board
State Water Resources Control Board
1001 I Street, 24th Floor
Sacramento, CA 95814-0100
Comment letters may be submitted electronically, in pdf text format (if less than 15 megabytes in total size) to the Clerk to the Board via e-mail at [email protected]. Please indicate in the subject line: “Comment Letter – 2016 Bay-Delta Plan Amendment & SED.” You may also submit your comments by fax at (916) 341-5620. Electronic submission is preferred, but not required.
Couriers delivering comment letters must check in with lobby security personnel, who can contact Jeanine Townsend at (916) 341-5600.

See revised notice from State Water Board.

Leave a Comment

{ 17 comments… add one }
  • Allison Deneau
    January 3, 2017, 11:23 am

    I love going out on the Delta every summer, so it would be a great loss if it ain’t restored!

  • John Morelli
    January 4, 2017, 2:46 pm

    Please think about the ramifications to taking more water from the Delta and the ecological effects that will happen. Our back yard Delta is the largest estuary in the north west. Taking more water from the Delta will only hurt the environment and people who live in this state. It will only help the billionaire farmers who want more water for their benefit, to grow products in toxic soil.

  • January 4, 2017, 3:48 pm

    I will do everything possible to expose the individuals behind the attempt to steal water from the Delta. Whatever anyone says about committees and such THERE IS ALWAYS AT LEAST ONE COCKROACH hiding from the light. GLWATCDR- Good Lord Willing and the Creeks Don’t Rise- WE WILL KNOW THE NAMES and TAKE IT FROM THERE as in a forensic audit of ALL BUSINESSES you are involved in. Why I imagine their are expert accountants willing to do this RIGHT NOW.

  • Michelle MacKenzie
    January 4, 2017, 4:40 pm

    I have read several reports this past year on the poor state of the SF Bay Delta. Apparently the ecosystem is on the verge of collapse due to all the water being taken out for human use. This is not okay. The Delta is a critically important part of the Pacific Coast Flyway and is home to many fish and other wildlife. I am a lifelong Californian who cares about our wildlife and birds and I am asking for a permanent reduction in the amount of water taken from the Delta. Please work with those agricultural interests taking water from the delta to reduce their consumption and not to take the water from wildlife habitat instead.

  • Melissa Murphy
    January 4, 2017, 5:16 pm

    The Bay Area Delta is a fragile and critical part of the Bay Area’s water and ecosystems. It provides a way for excess water to be absorbed, which will become even more important with the extreme weather that climate change is bringing; it provides increasing rare habitat for at risk species, particularly water birds; like all marshes, it cleanses our polluted water. These are reasons enough to preserve and restore the Delta. When you add to this the fact that the entire state needs to cut back on water usage – permanently -because the state has already allowed destruction of much of our water table with fracking and overuse, the proposal to purloin the Delta of its water makes even less sense.

    The tunnels will destroy the Delta for the profit of a few, and once it can no longer produce the water they want, they will move forward with a proposal to pull water out of another system. Have we lost our minds?

    I note that the Chair of the Water Resources Control Board states in her bio that while at the EPA, she worked to make the agency more responsive to communities such as Indian Tribes. Surely she is aware of the recent efforts by First Nations people to our water in North Dakota from the poison of a pipeline. The Delta water is no different- Bay Area communities depend on it even if they are unaware of this fact. The tunnels present an very serious threat.

    Please stop this ill-conceived, misguided disastrous proposal NOW.

  • Richard G. Stewart
    January 4, 2017, 5:20 pm

    Please leave the Delta alone. This administration and senate will go down in history as not caring about Northern California nor the ecology of the Bay and Delta. No tunnels period. If that is not clear enough for you, I feel sorry for this state.
    Richard G. Stewart.

  • Robert Torre
    January 4, 2017, 5:42 pm

    This is going to destroy the salmon habitat of the Central Valley. Thousands of jobs are at stake

  • Linda J. Vallery Hall
    January 4, 2017, 7:59 pm

    Water belongs to all of us. It should never have been given to water companies that use our water to make profits for themselves. Our water should be distributed by non-profit companies!

  • Nick Delgado
    January 5, 2017, 11:37 am

    Please consider the importance of the Delta as a major source of habitat for fish, waterfowl and other wildlife. It is a major natural resource that is very sensitive and can not survive with the proposed changes such as the tunnels and other water diversion. The salinity and overall effect to marshes and the SF Bay can be disrupted to dangerous levels. Very few deltas exist. Let’s protect and make better of what we have.

  • Pam & Robert Burns-Clair & Clair
    January 5, 2017, 3:57 pm


  • Bruce Dunwell
    January 8, 2017, 9:02 pm

    I’ve read a lot of commentary about the many negative consequences of failure to reduce rather than increase water exports from the Delta, and failure to follow best practices regarding salinity levels. I am assuming you have also been fully apprised of all the scientifically validated data regarding the long-term health of the Delta, and that you would prefer to do the right thing, despite pressure from various powerful interests with countervailing motives.
    Rather than reiterating all the bullet points you are fully aware of by now, I’d like to step back and address the larger sociopolitical questions that bear on these issues. The elephant in the room that many people are reluctant to face squarely is deciding how much resource extraction (water, in this case) is enough. “Oh, just a little more won’t hurt” is not a well-reasoned standard approach. Nor is, “Let’s just wait until a few more species are extinct.” I do not believe that we humans, just because we have opposable thumbs and big brains and have the technological ability to destroy entire ecosystems are therefore entitled or obliged to blithely take whatever we want and shove aside or annihilate any part of an ecosystem that may impede our insatiable desire for limitless growth and “prosperity.” The usual simplistic view of prosperity, which fails to take into account all the hidden, destructive costs should not be a legislative foundation. I urge you to look at the bigger, centuries-long picture and create a legacy you can truly be proud of. Thank you for considering my opinions.

  • John Sherman
    January 9, 2017, 3:53 pm

    I live in Discovery Bay on the Delta. My livelihood comes from healthy fisheries as a Sales Representative for a prominent fishing brand. The current position of diverting excess water from the Delta, not only has deteriorated the quality of fishing, but this summer my children were unable to swim in our backyard due to a toxic algae bloom caused from inadequate clean water in the estuary. Please stop diverting water to grow crops in the desert and expand the corporate farming corruption that continues to plant more almond trees in the severe drought!

  • Dora Wilson
    January 9, 2017, 9:16 pm

    I grew up fishing and boating on the delta. I love watching the huge ships come into our port. Seeing the birds swimming and diving for fish. This water way is the life’s blood of our area. If it is allowed to be over pumped it will be detrimental to the wildlife, fish, farming and businesses that rely heavily on it like our ports and recreational boating. And also for our drinking water. We need to protect our Delta Estuary for generations to come.

  • Ken Humphrey
    January 10, 2017, 5:57 am

    I am a Delta boater and hate to see the deterioration of this wonderful waterway, but the more important thing to consider is the water quality for the wildlife in and on the Delta. If we allow the cleaner water from the Sacramento River to bypass the Delta, the water quality will suffer tremendously. Fresh water plants and fish will perish, not to mention the quality of water for local farmers and communities that draw their water from the Delta. Northern California needs to be up in arms over this nonsense!

  • Jen Jenkins Dohner
    January 23, 2017, 11:21 am

    I have the unique perspective of having lived and played in the Delta all my life, having been the first baby of the Discovery Bay community. I’ve seen easily observable major changes in the ecosystem there over my lifetime, including this last year’s toxic algae bloom in our very own Lido Bay. Please, do not allow these naturally tidal waterways to stagnate and become sickly by over-exporting their water. Thank you.

  • January 26, 2017, 10:27 pm

    It is critical vital organ of our natural surroundings and we see it’s rapidly dying due to monetary greed and the power of manipulation…

  • February 1, 2017, 9:20 pm

    It is my impression that the Delta Tunnels profit a few people and will be paid for by the public one way or another. The Tunnels water flow depends on rainfall and we never have enough. This project will destroy the greatest Bay / Delta Estuaries we know and life and businesses as we know it.
    The Bay/Delta Estuaries give vibrant life to California and all our wonderful activities. Let us give back and clean all the water that goes into our Estuaries,Rivers and Ocean. The action of cleaning all the wastewater is a sustainable life giving California WaterFix. ? 2-1-2017 BCG