Without agreements on water, California needs to set new objectives and protections for Delta

Cal Matters

For more than a decade, California’s governors have pushed for “voluntary agreements” to establish rules for water diversions by major urban and agricultural water districts, and to redress their environmental impacts.

Our organizations joined those discussions to craft a scientifically sound plan that would restore San Francisco Bay’s fisheries and water quality –  and with the understanding that any agreement would satisfy all applicable laws, including the federal and state Clean Water Acts, as part of an update of the State Water Board’s Bay-Delta Water Quality Control Plan.

Voluntary agreements crumbled recently, after the state’s largest water districts walked away from the table. Their reason: California sued the Trump administration over its new Endangered Species Act plan because it weakens protections for endangered species, including Chinook Salmon. But the collapse of these discussions doesn’t mean the San Francisco Bay estuary should remain in limbo.

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