The Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) is often criticized for not being comprehensive enough because it doesn’t consider other actions that could be taken such as desalination, or other statewide or regional needs such as water storage. Perhaps it’s the huge price tag or the over 40,000 pages that makes it seem like it should be more; however, the Bay Delta Conservation Plan is not supposed to be statewide water plan – it is, after all, a permit application for an incidental take permit that is being submitted under federal and state endangered species regulations, and by definition,it is limited to the actions that occur within the BDCP’s plan area (basically the Delta and the Suisun Marsh). But this doesn’t mean the state doesn’t have such a comprehensive plan – it does and it’s called the California Water Plan, the first volume of which hit the street yesterday for public review.
The California Water Plan is the state’s long-term strategic plan for guiding the management and development of water resources. Updated every 5 years, the Plan is developed with extensive stakeholder involvement, from individuals and groups to government agencies, nonprofits and NGOs that represent multiple disciplines and tribal, regional, and local interests as well as environmental, agricultural, and urban concerns.
The plan identifies 17 objectives and over 250 related actions; however, it does not create mandates, prioritize actions, or allocate funding, although funding is discussed. It is intended to inform legislative action as well as planning processes and decision making at all levels of government. The Plan describes current water resource conditions, identifies potential future conditions and the factors driving those changes, recognizes the challenges and impediments to effective solutions, and lays out an extensive list of potential actions that are intended to move California toward more sustainable management of water resources and more resilient water management systems.
The Plan’s strategies and actions are built around three central themes: advancing integrated water management, strengthening government agency alignment, and investing in innovation and infrastructure. It contains a wide range of information, including current and potential future conditions, a “Road Map for Action”, regional reports for all of the state’s hydrologic regions, and an Integrated Water Management Toolbox.
The California Water Plan is organized into five volumes:
Volume 1: The Strategic Plan, provides an overview of current issues and and challenges.
Volume 2, Regional Reports, discusses water issues and challenges as well as water management strategies on a regional basis; twelve reports cover the state’s ten hydrologic regions.
Volume 3, Resource Management Strategies, identifies 30 types of strategies for improving water quality, water supply reliability, flood management, and ecosystem assets.
Volume 4 is a reference guide.
Volume 5 is a technical guide.
The first volume was released yesterday. The third volume will be released on October 16 with the second volume following on October 23. Volumes 4 and 5 will be released with the final plan documents in January of 2014. There will be a 45 day comment period following the release of each volume. The released volumes will be discussed at a water plan plenary meeting on Tuesday and Wednesday, Oct. 29 and 30, in Sacramento.
For more information:
Click here to for the California Water Plan documents.