The State Water Board is planning to consider a proposed Order taking action on Petitions for Reconsideration of the Executive Director’s: June 1, 2021 Order Approving a Temporary Urgency Petition to Modify Specified Delta Flow and Water Quality Requirements included in Decision 1641, and the Executive Director’s June 10, 2021 Sacramento River Temperature Management Plan Approval Pursuant to Order 90-5 at its February 15, 2022 Board meeting.
OnMay 17, 2021, the Department of Water Resources (DWR) and the United StatesBureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) jointly filed a Temporary Urgency Change Petition(TUCP) to temporarily modify terms and conditions in their water right license andpermits forthe StateWater Project and Central Valley Project that require compliancewith certainflow andwater quality objectives in theWater Quality Control Planfor theSan Francisco Bay/Sacramento–San Joaquin DeltaEstuary(Bay–Delta)as required byRevisedDecision 1641(D–1641).
On June 1, 2021, the State Water Board’s Executive Director issued anorderconditionallyapprovingtheTUCP(TUCP Order)to address critically dry conditionsassociated with California’s ongoing drought.The TUCP OrdertemporarilymodifiedDelta outflow requirementsfrom June through July and agricultural water qualityrequirementsfrom June through August 15of 2021tolessenshortfalls in watersuppliesand conserve storage for later in the year for multiple purposes,including maintainingsalinitycontrol in the Delta, managing temperatures in the Sacramento River forsalmonids,and ensuring minimal health and safety requirements were achieved.One oftheconditionsofthe TUCP Orderwasa requirement to implementaSacramento RiverTemperature Management Plan (TMP) as approved by theState Water Board’s Executive Director.
On May 28,2021, Reclamation submitted a 2021 TMP pursuant to Water Right Order90–5. On June 10, 2021, the State WaterBoard’s Executive Director conditionallyapproved the TMP to addresssignificant reductions in projected inflowsto Shasta Reservoirwhile improving Reclamation’sability to control temperatures in theSacramento River and decrease temperature dependent mortality to winter–run Chinooksalmon.
UnderWater Code section 1122 and California Code of Regulations, title 23, sections768–770,any interested person may file a petition for reconsideration ofcertainordersor decisionsmade under authority delegated to an office or employee(the ExecutiveDirector in thiscase)of the State Water Board.Pursuant to these requirements,multiplepartiessubmitted petitions forreconsiderationforbothdecisions of the ExecutiveDirector:theJune1 TUCP Order and June 10 approvalof the TMP.State Water Boardstaff released adraft Orderfor public commenton December 15, 2021,which wouldtakeaction onthe petitions forreconsideration ofbothofthe Executive Director’sdecisions(draft Order). The draft Order addressesfive petitions for reconsideration(andnumerous objections)which werereceivedon the TUCP Order, andtwopetitions forreconsideration thatwerereceivedon the June10approval of the TMP.
The draftOrderdenies in part and grants in partthe petitions for reconsiderationanddeterminesthat approvals of the TUCP Order andthe Sacramento River TMP wereappropriate, based on the information available at the time, but thatadditional measuresare neededtoimprove future planning for drought conditions in the Delta andSacramento River watersheds.The draft Orderincludes conditionsto address actionsneeded for next year if conditions remain dryto protect the publicinterest, ensureadequate water supplies are maintained in storage tomeet municipal and other criticalneeds, and prevent catastrophic impacts to fish and wildlife.
Apublicworkshop washeld onJanuary 5, 2022,to receiveoral commentsonthe draftOrder,and writtencomments onthedraft Order were due January 7,2022.Based onthe public comments, proposed edits to the December 15, 2021 version ofthe draftOrder have been madeand a February4, 2022 version of thedraftOrder has beenposted on theStateWater Board’s website with changes fromtheDecember 15, 2021 versionshown instrikeout underline.