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Water Leaders Call for Effective Flow Objectives in Bay-Delta Watershed
The Association of California Water Agencies Responds to Recent Proposal from the State Water Board


A recent statement from the Association of California Water Agencies emphasizes that the state's policy on access to freshwater flow should reflect the best available science, take economic impacts into account and be consistent with the equal goals of improving water supply reliability and ecosystem health in accordance with the California Water Action Plan.

The ACWA and local water leaders are calling on the California State Water Resources Control Board to embrace a more effective approach to flows and water quality objectives in the Bay-Delta watershed.

In response to the state water board's staff proposal for the San Joaquin River and tributaries and widespread concern about its impacts, ACWA's board of directors adopted a policy statement urging the state water board to set aside its proposed "unimpaired flow" approach and heed Gov. Jerry Brown's call for negotiated agreements, which have proven successful on many rivers and tributaries in the Bay-Delta watershed.

"California's urban and agricultural water managers are united in their vision for a future that includes a healthy economy as well as healthy ecosystems and fish populations," said Timothy Quinn, ACWA executive director. "That vision is best achieved through comprehensive, collaborative approaches that include a broad suite of actions and non-flow solutions that contribute real benefits to ecosystem recovery."

As part of its update to the Bay-Delta Water Quality Control Plan, the state water board issued a staff proposal last fall that would require water users to leave significantly more water in the San Joaquin River and its tributaries from Feb. 1 to June 30 each year in an effort to provide fish and wildlife benefits.

The ACWA statement notes that the proposal could lead to widespread fallowing of agricultural land and would negatively affect water supply reliability for much of the state's population. It also would undercut the state's groundwater sustainability goals, cripple implementation of the Brown Administration's California Water Action Plan, and affect access to surface water for some disadvantaged communities that do not have safe drinking water.

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March 25, 2019, 6:00 pm PDT

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