This week, the California Water Resources Control Board released a draft report identifying increased water flows needed to protect fisheries and water quality in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Estuary. According to Mike Taugher of the Bay Area News Group, “The key finding is that of all the snowmelt and rain that falls into the Delta’s watershed, which covers 40 percent of California, about 75 percent of it should be allowed to flow through the Delta into San Francisco Bay.” “Today, only about 50 percent of the flow passes through the Delta on average as nearly all of California taps into its rivers and the Delta itself.” A press release from the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance (CSPA) notes that the report [...]
Will the Water Board get it right this time? Mike Taugher quotes Roger Patterson, assistant general manager for the Metropolitan Water District. Meeting the 75 percent target “would obviously devastate water supplies,” Patterson said. He speculates that if pollution, invasive species, and other issues in the Delta are addressed, more water could be taken out. Taugher notes that meeting all of the requirements “would require San Joaquin farms, Southern California and portions of the East and South Bay Area cities that rely on pumps in the southern Delta to cut their Delta water use by one-third in addition to recent cutbacks required by endangered species rules. For other water users upstream, including water utilities that service Oakland and San Francisco, [...]
Deirdre Des Jardins is currently a policy analyst for environmental and fishing groups. She specializes in finding and synthesizing information from diverse and often highly technical government reports, research, and technical documents into a coherent, understandable framework for policy decisions. She has a background in complex systems theory and computational modeling, and has worked at NASA Ames and Los Alamos National Labs.
Senator Feinstein’s aides were in the Delta last week getting feedback on the Senator’s bill for a Delta National Heritage Area and a Delta Conservancy. We were glad to have the opportunity to share our concerns, but it all came very late in the process. The Senator plans to introduce the bill this week. There was widespread opposition in the Delta to the conservancy as proposed, and Restore the Delta will not support any version of this bill that includes a conservancy. (While Restore the Delta has always supported a conservancy conceptually, what is proposed in this legislation is the design of a Federal/State/national NGO program to work in tandem with implementation of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan. Restore the [...]
It looks like the Delta Stewardship Council is getting ready to try balancing on that two-legged stool. The issue is risk reduction, and the problem is that as soon as you start prioritizing risks, you discover how much of the Delta is neither ecosystem nor export water supply. Last week the DSC invited the public to participate in a Risk Reduction and Coequal Goals Workgroup. (Notice was short, and even some of the consultants didn’t get that notice, but that’s a different story.) The DSC brought to the Workgroup eight questions related to prioritizing levee risks and conducting emergency planning. This was déjà vu all over again for Ron Baldwin, San Joaquin County Director of Emergency Operations. In 2008, the [...]