METROPOLITAN’S SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON THE BAY-DELTA: Preparing to make decision on California Water Fix; pending amendments to the Delta Stewardship Council’s Delta Plan
At the March meeting of Metropolitan’s Special Committee on the Bay Delta, committee members heard the plan for bringing the California Water Fix project before the board for a decision and an update on the pending Delta Plan amendment process currently underway at the Delta Stewardship Council.
“The decision is really to support moving forward on Cal Water Fix, based on the cost allocation, based on the financing, and based on the benefits that it would provide to Metropolitan,” he said.
“The Delta Plan and the Stewardship Council’s activity in managing the Delta Plan is to make sure that all of the various agencies and all of the actions move towards meeting this overall vision for the Delta, including the policies and recommendations that are in the Delta Plan.” Since its adoption, the Delta Plan has been amended to refine performance measures, and to allow for single-year water transfers to proceed without having to certify consistency with the Delta Plan.
“The State Water Contractors comment in that regard is that the existing cost sharing is what should continue on and that is, currently there is a 75% cost share that is supposed to sunset in 2018, and the contractors are weighing in and saying that should continue to happen and it should go back to the normal 50% cost share from the state in terms of maintenance and levee subventions.” During the discussion period, Director Murray asked for further clarification on the state’s cost share for Delta levee funding.
“As the California Water Fix has been moving forward, the Stewardship Council has been talking about how do they now go through their decision making process, given that it’s no longer a Bay Delta Conservation Plan, it’s now a proposed California Water Fix,” he said.
It deals with not only the facilities themselves related to Cal Water Fix, but operations and storage and how the three of those work together.” “The amendments would promote options for new and improved conveyance including dual conveyance, and that’s what California Water Fix is by definition,” Mr. Arakawa said.
As the Delta Plan got finalized, there was a view by many water users that it seemed to be moving towards, ‘you have to reduce your take from the Delta out over time,’ and there were others that argue that the definition that was included in the legislation meant that through your investments in conservation, local water supply including recycled water and other types of supply management actions that could occur locally, you’re reducing your reliance on the Delta out into the future, that it would otherwise be if those investments didn’t occur.
That EIR would include the aspects of the Delta Levee Investment Strategy, the Delta conveyance, storage, and operations amendment, and then the companion performance measures that go along with it that make up the Delta Plan.” “We continue to work with the contractors, we continue to attend the meetings and comment when our interests are involved and we plan on keeping you updated on where things are and what the outcomes,” concluded Mr. Arakawa.
“One of the key areas of focus has been should the flows that they develop for standards in the Delta be based on this term called unimpaired flow,” said Mr. Arakawa.
And fact, there really ought to be focus on what functional flows are necessary for fish protection, how much habitat, how much water, and what’s the timing of that.” “As the State Water Board has proposed to go forward and set flows, they’ve used percentage of unimpaired flow as the mechanism,” he continued.