BREAKING NEWS UPDATE: Agreement reached on Coordinated Operation Agreement for the State Water Project and the Central Valley Project, cost sharing; Water agencies respond

Agreement reached on Coordinated Operation Agreement for the State Water Project and the Central Valley Project, cost sharing

From the Department of Water Resources:

Yesterday, the Department of Water Resources (DWR) and the Bureau of Reclamation reached agreement on updating how the State Water Project (SWP) and Central Valley Water Project (CVP) are operated to meet environmental regulations.

“The state and federal projects are intertwined, and we have a joint interest and responsibility to ensure our water system meets California’s needs especially as conditions change,” said DWR Director Karla Nemeth.

The Coordinated Operation Agreement (COA) was originally signed in 1986 and defines how the state and federal water projects share water quality and environmental flow obligations imposed by regulatory agencies. The agreement calls for periodic review to determine whether updates are needed in light of changed conditions. After completing a joint review process, DWR and Reclamation agreed to an addendum to the COA to reflect water quality regulations, biological opinions and hydrology updated since the agreement was signed.  The original Agreement can be found here and the 2018 addendum is here.

DWR and the Bureau also signed an agreement to formalize the cost sharing formula for projects needed to meet joint responsibilities under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The new agreement calls for costs to be shared equitably between the state and federal projects for work to meet joint responsibilities under the ESA, including monitoring and habitat restoration. The cost sharing agreement can be found here.

Agreement Between U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and California Department of Water Resources Supported by Public Water Agencies

Joint press release from San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority, Westlands Water District, Central California Irrigation District, Friant Water Authority, Reclamation District 108, Glenn Colusa Irrigation District, SJR Exchange Contractors, and Tehama Colusa Canal Authority

Today the United States Bureau of Reclamation and the California Department of Water Resources announced a series of agreements to resolve water conflicts that have vexed the State for decades and to reaffirm the collaborative partnership between the Federal and State governments to develop long-term solutions to California’s major water problems.

Since August 2018, Reclamation and DWR, with support from public water agencies from nearly every region of the State, have engaged in accentuated discussions to address contributions from the Central Valley Project, the State Water Project, and the public
water agencies they serve to voluntary agreements to resolve conflicts over proposed amendments to the Bay-Delta Water Quality Control Plan Update and to revise sharing formulas under the 1986 Coordinated Operations Agreement.

The product of those discussions includes a series of voluntary agreements to resolve conflicts over proposed amendments to the Bay-Delta Water Quality Control Plan Update that, if accepted by the State Water Resources Control Board, will provide:

• Improved water supply reliability to the Sacramento Valley, the Sacramento region, the San Joaquin Valley, the San Francisco Bay area, the central coast, and southern California.
• Significant quantities of water, on a voluntary basis, for instream flow in nearly every major stream tributary to the Sacramento – San Joaquin Rivers Delta and Delta outflow, while balancing the impacts that may result from land fallowing and other actions to generate these flows.
• Habitat improvements and other non-flow measures to enhance fish and wildlife resources in the Delta and streams tributary to the Delta.
• A secure and ongoing source of funding to implement water purchase programs, habitat restoration, and robust science programs to ensure that both water and money dedicated to environmental enhancement and restoration are being used wisely.

These agreements will result in immediate improvements to the environment and at-risk aquatic species and commit local, regional, Federal and State agencies to a long-term course for collaboration to further ecosystem enhancement and water supply improvements.

Today’s announcement is a paradigm shift in how water will be managed for human and environmental needs and how decisions will be made about the use of the State’s most precious resource. It is a good deal for the State and the Nation.

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