Monday October 2, 2023


With the Bay-Delta watershed in the throes of an ecological crisis, California’s water regulators Thursday unveiled several controversial options for managing the heart of the state’s water supply. 

The long-awaited, nearly 6,000-page draft is part of a fiercely contentious but under-the-radar process to update the Bay-Delta Water Quality Control Plan, with high stakes for both wildlife and water providers serving cities and millions of acres of farms. 

State water officials have said that existing requirements for water quality and flow through the critical but imperiled San Francisco Bay and Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta watershed have “failed to protect fish and wildlife” and must be updated “to halt and reverse the ecosystem collapse.” 

Several of the strategies the report evaluates would set minimum amounts of water to remain in rivers and streams, which could ultimately require water suppliers and other water users to cut back on how much they divert for people and farms. 

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