News Worth Noting, Delta tunnels edition: DWR Director Cowin statement on Cal Water Fix hearings; Water losses eclipse gains from winter storms; New PPIC Report says California Water Fix “would improve water supply reliability

Department of Water Resources Director Mark W. Cowin on the State Water Resources Control Board pre-hearing conference today on the DWR and U.S. Bureau of Reclamation petition requesting changes in water rights for the California WaterFix

From the Department of Water Resources:

NEW_DWR_LOGO_14inch“We welcome the Water Board’s hearing process and expect a thorough vetting of concerns about our proposal to construct new intakes on the Sacramento River.  We respect the Board’s difficult task in balancing competing uses of water in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.  Through the Water Board hearings over the coming months, we intend to demonstrate how we will upgrade infrastructure of statewide importance while protecting fish and wildlife and addressing the legitimate concerns of other water users who depend upon the Delta.

“When and wherever possible, we have modified our proposed project to avoid or minimize potential negative effects on local communities, others who depend upon the Delta for water supplies, and fish and wildlife. We’ll continue to listen to concerns and adjust the proposed project where possible. We welcome any discussion and negotiation on any set of issues regarding the California WaterFix petitions for new points of diversion.”

Mark Cowin
Director of Department of Water Resources

Water losses eclipse gains from winter storms

Environmental Regulations Trigger Significant Cutbacks, Underscore Need for Modern Delivery System

From the State Water Contractors:

swc logo“The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) announced this week that public water agencies are now projected to receive 15 percent of contracted water supplies from the State Water Project (SWP) in 2016. While recent storms allowed DWR to increase the previous 10 percent allocation, environmental restrictions have triggered a loss of approximately 225,000 acre-feet of water in January alone, enough to serve more than one million people with water for an entire year.

“Any boost in water supplies is welcome, but the allocation increase is overshadowed by how much water we’re losing on a daily basis,” said Erlewine.

To comply with mandatory environmental restrictions imposed in recent years, state and federal water operators scaled back pumping operations from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. These actions result in a substantial loss of water supplies and lost opportunity to replenish the state’s reservoirs. In addition to the 225,000 acre-feet of water lost to date, water agencies from the SWP and Central Valley Project (CVP) anticipate losses of roughly 15,000 acre-feet per day throughout the next week. Had a modern water delivery system been in place, California’s water agencies would have received nearly 80 percent more water during this month.

“We are losing a substantial amount of water despite winter storms because our current delivery system doesn’t allow us to capture water when it’s available,” said Terry Erlewine, general manager of the State Water Contractors.

The chart below, based on real-time data from DWR and the United States Bureau of Reclamation, reflects how much water is flowing into the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and how much water has been exported by both the SWP and CVP.

The vast majority of the state’s surface water supplies come from the high Sierra Nevada Mountains where rainfall and snowmelt fill rivers and tributaries that travel toward the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. The State Water Contractors receive a small portion of the water that flows though the Delta to provide water to 26 million people, businesses and farms throughout the state.

California WaterFix is the state and federal plan to modernize the state’s water delivery system and create a more secure water supply for 26 million Californians. The project also features CA EcoRestore to protect and restore the wildlife and environment of the Delta. Learn more about the project at: www.californiawaterfix.com.

The State Water Contractors is a statewide, non-profit association of 27 public agencies from Northern, Central and Southern California that purchase water under contract from the California State Water Project. Collectively the State Water Contractors deliver water to more than 25 million residents throughout the state and more than 750,000 acres of agricultural lands. For more information on the State Water Contractors, please visit www.swc.org.

New PPIC Report says California Water Fix “would improve water supply reliability and quality, and provide flexibility in managing water for the environment

From Californians for Water Security:

Water Security Logo“Yesterday the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) released a report about the state’s water management challenges, specifically highlighting the need for the California Water Fix, the Governor’s plan to secure our state’s water supply.

Below are excerpts from the report:
“The Sacramento–San Joaquin Delta is a fragile link in the state’s water supply network.”

“The proposed new tunnels could potentially safeguard the Delta’s environment while maintaining water supply reliability.”

“The Delta supplies water to more than 25 million people and 3 million acres of farmland. Earthquakes and a rising sea level threaten levees that protect water quality. Water management to help declining native fish species—many classified as endangered—disrupts water exports. Political indecision hampers efforts to solve the Delta’s problems.”

“The state needs to make a strategic decision about the future of Delta exports. The current system relies on pulling water directly through Delta channels to the pumps. A new management plan, known as the California Water Fix, would construct two tunnels to tap water upstream on the Sacramento River and move it underneath the Delta to the pumps. This plan would improve water supply reliability and quality, and provide flexibility in managing water for the environment.”

“The plan is costly, but failing to address threats to the Delta may prove more expensive as water supply becomes less reliable.”

To read the entire report, visit:
http://www.ppic.org/content/pubs/report/R_116EHR.pdf

A recent poll also showed that 80 percent of Californians support the plan when voters hear information about key components and the plan’s importance to their own region. That support remains strong even after voters hear a strongly worded opposition statement, with more than two-thirds of voters supporting the California Water Fix.

About Californians for Water Security:
CWS is a growing coalition of more than 12,000 California citizens and more than 160 organizations representing business leaders, labor, family farmers, local governments, water experts, environmentalists, public safety officials, infrastructure groups, taxpayer associations, and others who support the plan to fix California’s broken water distribution system. The Governor’s plan was drafted after nearly a decade of scientific review and analysis by leading water experts and conservationists and has received input from leading scientists and engineers. The coalition is waging an active advertising, grassroots lobbying, social media and public advocacy campaign to support this important project to fix our aging water distribution infrastructure and improve water reliability and security throughout the state.

For more information on Californians for Water Security, visit: www.watersecurityca.com

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About News Worth Noting:  News Worth Noting is a collection of press releases, media statements, and other materials produced by federal, state, and local government agencies, water agencies, and academic institutions, as well as non-profit and advocacy organizations.  News Worth Noting also includes relevant legislator statements and environmental policy and legal analyses that are publicly released by law firms.  If your agency or organization has an item you would like included here, please email it to Maven.

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