Delta water protection bill moving through Legislature
April 29, 2013
• Passes Senate committee
• “Guidance to water agencies on how to comply with these existing statutes”
A proposal that would force the Department of Water Resources to prove that its water projects would actually result in reducing dependence of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta before going ahead with them is moving slowly through the state Legislature.
The Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Water has voted 7-2 to approve Senate Bill 449, authored by state Sen. Cathleen Galgiani, D-Stockton, which, if it were to make it into law, would prohibit the DWR from allocating state funds for water projects that are unable to demonstrate that they are reducing their dependence on the Delta.
“The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Reform Act of 2009 established as state policy the goal of reducing reliance on the Delta in meeting California’s future water supply needs,” says Ms. Galgiani. “The goal of my bill is provide guidance to water agencies on how to comply with these existing statutes as new water projects are being undertaken”.
The DWR and Gov. Jerry Brown are pushing a plan that would build massive 35-mile-long twin tunnels 150 feet beneath the Delta to siphon water out of the Sacramento River before it could naturally flow into the Delta and ship it to users on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley, Southern California and others.
Ms. Galgiani says her bill is facing heavy opposition from different water contracting agencies, largely from Southern California. She says she has pledged to work in crafting a balanced approach to Delta conservation that would not have unintended consequences.
As noted in the committee analysis, the 2009 water package recognized that state policy is to reduce reliance on the Delta by implementing a statewide strategy to improve regional water supplies. SB 449 recognizes that each region that depends on water from the Delta shall seek to improve its regional self-reliance through investments in efficient water management practices.
With the committee approval, the bill has been sent to the Senate Appropriations Committee.