State Sen. Lois Wolk, D-Davis, earlier this month called for a “Plan B” to replace WaterFix, the state’s proposal to upgrade 50-year-old infrastructure to deliver water in a more environmentally protective manner. Wolk suggests reducing water demand through efficiency and conservation, metering all uses of water, better managing groundwater and modernizing levees. On these things, we agree. The state is doing all of that, and more.
The purpose of the California WaterFix Aquatic Science Peer Review is to provide the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), and California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) with an independent scientific evaluation of the methods and approaches for developing the joint Biological Opinion requirements and analyses prepared for the CDFW 2081 (b) Incidental Take Permit application for the California WaterFix.
The CALSIM and DSM2 modeling data used in development of the working draft biological assessment for the California WaterFix is now available upon request. CALSIM is a model used to simulate State Water Project (SWP)/Central Valley Project (CVP) operations. DSM2 is an extension of CALSIM which is used to model the historical hydrodynamics and electrical conductivity for the Delta and portions of the San Joaquin River.
On January 15, 2016, the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) and U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) released a working draft of the biological assessment for the California WaterFix.
The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) and a Joint Powers Authority comprised of public water agencies will collaborate in the design and construction of California WaterFix, should the project be permitted by various state and federal regulators and should the public water agencies choose to pursue the project.
Over the last year, the California WaterFix made considerable progress in securing California’s water supplies and improving the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta’s (Delta) ecosystem. In response to comments made on the draft environmental documents, and facing various uncertainties regarding future Delta conditions, the project shifted from a habitat conservation plan to a focused upgrade of the Delta’s primary water conveyance system. The project also underwent additional design changes resulting in reduced impacts on Delta communities and increased efficiency. Project changes were described and analyzed in a recirculated/supplemental environmental document released to the public for review and comment. The following graphic timeline chronicles the evolution of California WaterFix over the last year and includes a snapshot of major milestones:
Large infrastructure projects like California WaterFix require multiple and often concurrent regulatory review and permitting processes to obtain all of the necessary approvals before moving forward. Below is an overview of the regulatory and permitting actions associated with California WaterFix.
Today ends the public comment period on the updated draft environmental documents that analyze the potential effects of changing the primary water diversion system in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. The alternatives analyzed include California WaterFix, the project preferred by the administration of Governor Edmund G. Brown to achieve the co-equal goals of enhancing the Delta ecosystem and improving water supply reliability.
Statement from Cassandra Enos-Nobriga, program manager for the California Department of Water Resources, about the Delta Independent Science Board comments on the Partially Recirculated Draft Environmental Impact Report/Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement (RDEIR/SDEIS) for California WaterFix:
On August 26, 2015, the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) submitted a permit application to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) for California WaterFix, a project that aims to modernize the way water is diverted from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta by the State Water Project and Central Valley Project. This milestone brings additional opportunities for public participation in regulatory processes, including public comment.