Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla

Delta Flows 4/6/22: A Bittersweet Time at Restore the Delta

Restore the Delta staff and interns have begun public work again, in-person following the pandemic, with a bright and hopeful focus on problem solving and community building activities.Meanwhile, a new, and deeply problematic, Temporary Urgency Change Petition has been conditionally approved to suspend Delta water quality standards the next 90 days. In addition, the Department of Water Resources has released a Voluntary Agreement Framework for the Sacramento River watershed that is so deeply disappointing for the future of the Delta and California rivers that we simultaneously feel like we are publicly mourning.First, We Focus on the PositiveOur new team of Climate Water Advocates, funded by the James Irvine Foundation, the Mosaic Momentum Foundation, and Environment Now, are nearing completion of 18 [...]

Delta Flows 2/13/22: Voluntary Agreements Undermining Climate/Water planning in the Delta

by Barbara Barrigan-ParrillaIn December, the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) announced that the Voluntary Agreement (VA) process had ended for the San Joaquin River watershed; that rule making and implementation planning would begin for the Bay-Delta Plan (Phase 1) for the San Joaquin River watershed (with physical implementation in 2023); and that the process for the creation of the Bay-Delta Plan (Phase 2) for the Sacramento River watershed would commence, while the VA process would continue for the Sacramento River watershed. On top of the delays in restoring water quality and quantity for the Delta caused by never-ending VAs, court cases remain pending for curtailment orders during the last drought; court cases continue in response to last year’s Temporary [...]

Delta Flows 11/8/21: Pondering Mysteries in California Water Management

Mysterious Term Sheet A recent letter from Friant Water Authority to Secretary Crowfoot and Secretary Blumenfeld, responding to the State’s request to provide “red flag” comments on the October 18, 2021 Draft Memorandum of Understanding Advancing a Term Sheet for the Voluntary Agreements to Update and Implement the Bay Delta Water Quality Control Plan, and Other Related Actions (Term Sheet) and related appendices by October 29, contains mystery. Friant’s letter raises multiple concerns about costs, water supply, conflict with the San Joaquin River Restoration Program, and the need for federal legislation to force Central Valley Project contractors to pay their fair share. It most notably states that with respect to the litigation over the 2019 Trump Biological Opinions and negotiations over interim operations “dismissing [...]

Delta Flows: The Delta Conveyance Project, From Bad to Worse

We didn’t think it could be possible – that the change from twin tunnels to a single tunnel could net a Delta Conveyance Project that is even worse for the Delta than California WaterFix.  But alas, the Newsom Administration’s rogue agency, the Department of Water Resources, has managed to take a bad idea and make it even worse. Before we share details of a recent coalition letter explicating how the Delta Conveyance Project fails in the present, let’s linger for a moment on why DWR is a rogue department in California government.While other boards, agencies, commissions, and government entities, in an attempt to improve equity in outreach are expanding who they bring to the table to deal with Delta planning issues [...]

Delta Flows: DWR’s inability to take one solid action to protect the Delta

By: Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla The Department of Water Resources continues to fail in its management of the San Francisco Bay-Delta estuary. From its creation of a long-term water export operations plan based on the inaccurate fake corrupted Trump biological opinions written by former Westlands’ lobbyists, (now being rewritten by Federal agencies), to the voluntary agreements that will short the Delta of even more freshwater flows, to a new version of the Delta tunnel that will list major impacts as outside the project footprint for expediency, DWR consistently fails to put Delta health or communities first. Case in point: DWR is pursuing an effort to leave the saltwater barrier in place this fall.  Even though the current permit requires complete removal of the [...]

Delta Flows: Monitoring for the Bay-Delta Estuary on Multiple Fronts

Before we continue with the blog below, we want to thank our contributors who have helped us keep this vitally important work for the estuary going. This weekend is the 15th anniversary and start of the 16th year of work by Restore the Delta! If you have been busy this summer and unable to contribute to Our Living Delta, it’s not too late. Click her to make a contribution.  As you read this blog, you will see that we are busier than ever working to protect the estuary that we all love.CEQA Reform Bill UpdateA number of our followers were in touch with us quickly after our last alert asking for a bill number for the CEQA Reform Bill in the California legislature and [...]

Delta Flows: The Delta Conveyance Project, Texas-Style

For decades, Anti-California sentiment has been part of American media news coverage, which sadly too often measures state success only in terms of corporate success. The trope, “what is wrong with California,” does not evaluate the societal, environmental, and economic outcomes that would improve the quality of life for working people within our state. It places two segments of an incomplete narrative side-by-side for consideration: a state can succeed through corporate growth, or it can fail. Corporate responsibility is never delineated when the media frames the story as to whether corporations are thriving or failing in California. A recent article in the Los Angeles Times about AECOM moving its headquarters to Dallas accurately asserts that “Texas state officials have for years been trying to lure [...]

Delta Conveyance Project Update 8/13/21

by Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla (with the help of friends) Last week, while our staff was away on leave, vacation, sick time, and other assorted in-Delta activities, DWR held a fisheries workshop on operations of the proposed Delta Conveyance Project. Colleagues from various organizations took an array of notes and shared the following with us. We are editing their notes to share with our followers, with a bit of color commentary; otherwise, we wouldn’t be acting like ourselves.  The webinar presentation indicates that the agencies are proposing several changes in operations of the Delta tunnel compared to WaterFix, and these changes are grounded in wholly inadequate operational criteria. The project may have moved from two tunnels to one, but the operating conditions for water quality [...]

Delta Flows 7/28/21: They’re back, voluntary agreements

 – Barbara Barrigan-ParrillaWe have heard that voluntary agreement talks to set new flow standards for the San Francisco Bay-Delta Estuary have resumed. Apparently, there is a push to cut a deal by mid-August so that related project money could work its way into next year’s state budget.We have heard that not much has changed in the proposal that has now floated for 3 years, 6 years, 10 years (depends where we start counting from). The terms have been shortened to 8 years instead of 15. But the most disturbing item is that Governor Newsom’s Department of Water Resources is using the fake science dreamed up in the Trump era as the baseline for determining flows, which will permanently short once again freshwater moving [...]

Delta Flows: Recall Politics? No Thanks. The SF Bay-Delta keeps losing either way

Today’s blog breaks my heart. Why? Because Restore the Delta is focused on water quality issues, flood control issues, future planning, and training the next generation of local water experts – for that is where hope exists.  We are focused on the future because in some ways we have become very cynical about any positive meaningful change to Delta management presently — from the lack of care at the highest levels of government to local pockets of Delta communities that will not acknowledge the deterioration of the estuary before their eyes. Our Delta faces many threats At all levels, we see leaders who want what they want from the estuary: unrestricted water exports; a destructive mega-tunnel; discharge of pollutants without regulatory oversight; delisting [...]