SOURCE: Association of California Water Agencies

Association of California Water Agencies

August 25, 2009 18:52 ET

ACWA Urges Action on Comprehensive Water Package

Lawmakers Asked to Develop Package That Water Community Can Support

SACRAMENTO, CA--(Marketwire - August 25, 2009) - Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA) Executive Director Timothy Quinn today called on lawmakers to develop a legislative package that includes a strong commitment to improving both water supply reliability and ecosystem health in the Delta and establishes a governance mechanism that solves problems rather than creates barriers.

Testifying before a joint hearing of the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee and the Assembly Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee, Quinn said the five-bill package -- with the critical addition of a finance element -- provides a framework from which to negotiate a sound policy future for California water management. He noted, however, that modifications are needed to ensure the package and its proposed governance approach can meet its stated goals.

"The pre-print package falls short of advancing a governance structure that will result in the innovative planning and coordination we need to address both Delta ecosystem health and water supply reliability," Quinn said. "Our concern is that the proposed approach will result in a powerful and inevitably large council that will defeat the original purpose of the body. Other provisions run the risk of just prolonging the gridlock that has sent both the environment and water supply into a tailspin."

Quinn called on lawmakers to modify the governance proposal to achieve a smaller, more nimble Delta Stewardship Council that would focus on developing a plan that achieves the co-equal goals and protects the economy and the community of the Delta. The council should restrict its activities to the Delta and have the authority to require agencies to comply with the Delta plan.

He also cautioned against duplicating the decision-making process of the Bay-Delta Conservation Plan and subjecting implementation of the BDCP to additional pre-conditions and approvals beyond existing law, including the Endangered Species Act and water rights permits.

In addition to specific governance recommendations, Quinn urged the Legislature to work with the water community to advance a truly comprehensive package that includes the following:

--  A commitment to the co-equal goals of improved water supply
    reliability and ecosystem health.
--  A conveyance solution in the Delta.
--  Investments in additional water storage (both surface and groundwater)
    to be operated for the co-equal values.
--  Substantial investments in local resources development, including
    conservation, water recycling and groundwater management.
--  Delta governance mechanisms that solve rather than create problems.
--  A financing element that provides funding to pay for the public share
    of infrastructure costs and other programs consistent with the
    beneficiaries pay principle.
    

ACWA is a statewide association of public agencies whose 450 members are responsible for about 90% of the water delivered in California. For more information, visit www.acwa.com.

Contact Information

  • Contact:
    Jennifer Persike
    ACWA Director of Strategic Coordination and Public Affairs
    916/441-4545
    916/296-3981 (cell)