Bay Delta conservation plan loses support

On the heels of the withdrawal of support for the Bay Delta Conservation Plan by Westlands Water District, the San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority has voted to suspend continued funding for the plan. 

The authority, which serves 29 member agencies throughout the Bay-Delta, and other public water agencies that rely on water supplies pumped through the Delta, have invested almost $150 million and more than four years toward the plan’s development. It’s estimated it will cost another $100 million to complete the plan, according to the authority. 

According to the agencies, federal regulations have reduced California’s public water supplies by more than a third in the past three years and now the Department of the Interior is proposing even more regulatory restrictions.

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More Work Needed for Bay-Delta Conservation Plan

NOVATO, Calif., Nov. 19, 2010 /PRNewswire/ — Yesterday, the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) Steering Committee received a document describing results of four years of work to develop a comprehensive habitat conservation plan to protect and recover endangered species and provide for a reliable water supply from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.  

The Bay Institute, which as a member of the Steering Committee advocated for transparent development of a plan based on science, expressed disappointment with the progress to date and the content of the document. 

While The Bay Institute believes that the BDCP has made substantial progress, the document received yesterday does not accurately reflect that progress as many sections describe plan elements that are not agreed to by Steering Committee members. Said The Bay Institute’s Executive Director and Chief Scientist, Dr. Christina Swanson, “Every chapter of this so-called ‘draft plan’ is prefaced by lengthy caveats and disclaimers, but even those can’t gloss over the very serious, systemic flaws with the document and its development to date. Development of a plan that will withstand scientific and regulatory review will require significant additional work.”

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http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/more-work-needed-for-bay-delta-conservation-plan-109237724.html

Peter Gleick: California’s next one million acre-feet of water

Peter Gleick:

This is a key time for California water: we are coming off of three years of serious drought and growing political conflict over water allocations. The Legislature passed a comprehensive water bill last November. A major water bond was proposed to fund a wide range of interventions, but has now been tabled for at least two years and could be greatly altered or even scrapped altogether. New reviews from around the state are calling for prompt efforts to use infrastructure, markets, and institutional reform to address the state’s water crisis. All parties agree that the state will need a diverse portfolio of solutions for our diverse and complex water problems.

But the argument that we must do everything at once — conservation, new dams, seawater desalination plants, replumbing the Delta, some of this or that — is disingenuous, and wrong. We must do the most critical and effective things first, from a technical, political, and economic perspective.

And the most effective thing, hands down, is improving water-use efficiency. The Pacific Institute has just released a new analysis that recommends a set of specific actions that can annually save a million acre-feet of water quickly and at a lower economic and ecological cost than developing new supplies. These water savings are split 30/70 between the urban and agricultural sectors.

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/gleick/detail?entry_id=71828#ixzz0z9xHjYJA

Keeping California Under Water:

OPED: Consumers get soaked as state agencies try to balance conservation with revenue generation.

By TIM DeROCHE

Monday, July 19, 2010

What a difference a year makes. One year ago, California faced the third straight year of severe drought. Water rates went up. Cities like Los Angeles implemented draconian watering restrictions. The Schwarzenegger administration released a plan calling for a 20 percent reduction in consumption by 2020.

This year, all’s quiet on the Western front. A wet winter – and ongoing economic troubles – have muted the public outcry over water usage. The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power has proudly announced that consumption by single-family homes is down almost 30 percent since 2007.

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New law strengthens Bay Area Water Supply and Conservation Agency

July 19, 2010, 03:30 AM

By Bill Silverfarb Daily Journal staff
 
A new law signed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger last week strengthens a local water agency’s ability to obtain state grants and implement conversation projects.

The Bay Area Water Supply and Conservation Agency will now be able to compete with other water distributors across the state for bond money related to maintaining infrastructure or conservation efforts.
Assemblyman Ira Ruskin, D-Redwood City, drafted the legislation, in part, because of Proposition 18, an $11 billion water bond measure on the November ballot.

The bond measure provides financing for a variety of projects, such as the construction of new dams, drought relief, habitat restoration, recycling, groundwater improvements, watershed restoration and infrastructure improvements.

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