Last Friday, the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) and the Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) took steps towards providing greater long-term certainty to water users by submitting documents to the State Water Resources Control Board outlining potential voluntary agreements to support environmental objectives while protecting water supply reliability.
Available on the California Natural Resources Agency website, these documents build on the previously submitted framework to improve conditions for fish through habitat-enhancing projects and targeted river flows. This is an on-going process as further work and analysis is needed to ensure the agreements can meet environmental objectives required by law and the Bay-Delta Water Quality Control Plan.
Governor Gavin Newsom came out in support of the proposal, saying, “I appreciate that so many diverse parties, north and south, from the environmental community and water users alike, continue to work collaboratively towards voluntary agreements. Much hard work remains, but I am encouraged by the continued progress.”
The proposal details a 15-year program involving habitat improvements, completion of fish screen projects, restoration of flood plains, projects related to predation, and fish passage improvements. Other measures include pulse flows, reservoir reoperation, land fallowing, groundwater banking and reduced diversions.
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