The Delta Reform Act of 2009 defined new water policy priorities for the Delta and for the state of California by making the coequal goals the legal foundation for Delta policymaking. The Act defines “coequal goals” as “the two goals of providing a more reliable water supply for California and protecting, restoring, and enhancing the Delta ecosystem. The coequal goals shall be achieved in a manner that protects and enhances the unique cultural, recreational, natural resource, and agricultural values of the Delta as an evolving place.” (Water Code 85054)
Furthermore, the legislation states specific goals for the Delta (Water Code 85020): The policy of the State of California is to achieve the following objectives that the Legislature declares are inherent in the coequal goals for management of the Delta:
(a) Manage the Delta’s water and environmental resources and the water resources of the state over the long term.
(b) Protect and enhance the unique cultural, recreational, and agricultural values of the California Delta as an evolving place.
(c) Restore the Delta ecosystem, including its fisheries and wildlife, as the heart of a healthy estuary and wetland ecosystem.
(d) Promote statewide water conservation, water use efficiency, and sustainable water use.
(e) Improve water quality to protect human health and the environment consistent with achieving water quality objectives in the Delta.
(f) Improve the water conveyance system and expand statewide water storage.
(g) Reduce risks to people, property, and state interests in the Delta by effective emergency preparedness, appropriate land uses, and investments in flood protection.
(h) Establish a new governance structure with the authority, responsibility, accountability, scientific support, and adequate and secure funding to achieve these objectives.