Oct 23 Delta Stewardship Council meeting, 980-9th St, Sacramento, 9:00 am
Nov 15 Delta Protection Committee meeting, West Sacramento, 5:30 pm
Hearing on SWP Contracts Scheduled - Before DWR can execute new SWP Contracts with amendments and 65-year extension, Water Code Section 147.5 requires the Legislature to hold at least one informational hearing to review the amendments. In order for export water districts to sell bonds to finance WaterFix Construction, DWR wants to execute the new SWP Contracts before Governor Brown leaves office. This requires the Legislature to have hearing before the adjourn for the year on August 31st. Per DWR's request a joint budget committee hearing was scheduled on August 14th but cancelled after request from Assemblyman Frazier and statewide op-ed recommendations. With only two days public notice the joint hearing was rescheduled for August 30th, but cancelled the night before. According to Restore the Delta the informational hearing may be rescheduled again in September.
WaterFix Exempt from Litigation - An appropriations bill in Congress includes a provision (Section 437) that would exempt the WaterFix project EIR/EIS, record of decision or any other agency decision or determination from judicial review, including precluding litigation under state law.
State Audit of WaterFix Project Released - Pursuant to a 2016 request from State Legislators, the California State Auditor released a report in October 2017 exposing deficiencies in WaterFix project program management and describing significant cost increases and delays.
WaterFix Supplemental EIR/EIS Released - DWR and USBR both released Supplemental EIR/EIS reflecting design changes to the WaterFix project. NDWA submitted comment letter on the Supplemental EIR/EIS under CEQA and comments under NEPA are due November 5, 2018.
Water Board Delays Adoption of Bay Delta Plan Amendments - After receiving statements on the proposed Lower San Joaquin River Amendments from NDWA and other interested parties at a two-day hearing in August, the water board announced the vote to adopt the amendments would be postponed until continuation of the hearing on November 7th.
EIR Notice Released for SWP Contract Amendments - On Friday, July 13th DWR released a Notice of Preparation of EIR for proposed State Water Project (SWP) Contract Amendments and announced Scoping Meeting on Thursday, August 2nd, 11:00 am, at 1416-9th Street Auditorium.
McCormack and Staten Islands Ownership Transferring to DWR - DWR sent a letter of intent on June 20, 2018 to The Nature Conservancy (TNC) to expedite the transfer of fee ownership of McCormack Williamson Tract and Staten Island from TNC to DWR. According to DWR initial funding has been identified and permits are almost complete. Pursuant to a 2002 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), the DPC sent a letter requesting more information on the land transfer.
DWR Releases Admin Draft of Supplemental WaterFix EIR/EIS - In mid-June DWR released an Administrative Draft of Supplemental EIR/EIS for proposed WaterFix design modifications. The design changes appear to address concerns raised in public comments regarding footprint and power line impacts on birds raised by Osha Meserve on behalf of Stone Lakes Wildlife, elimination of barge landing at Snodgrass Slough mentioned in CCVFCA comment letter, as well as reducing impacts to fish at Clifton Court Forebay, but do not address concerns raised in NDWA comments. DWR will send notice when official Draft Supplemental EIR/EIS is available for public review and comment.
Senior Water Rights Validated by Court - Senior water rights strengthened by a Santa Clara County Superior Court ruling that the State Water Resources Control Board does NOT have jurisdiction to enforce priority of water rights between pre-1914 and riparian water rights when issuing curtailment enforcement action to water users during drought conditions. The case was in response to unlawful curtailment notices and a $5 million fine issued by the SWRCB against the Byron-Bethany Irrigation District (BBID) in 2015 and 2016. There are two remaining actions for the court to render decisions: 1) whether the SWRCB's enforcement action was a "taking" under the Constitution; and 2) reimbursement of BBID's legal costs associated with defending against SWRCB enforcement actions.
Water Rights Permits and Change Petitions Explained - The chief of the permitting section for the Division of Water Rights gave a presentation to the CA Water Commission describing the complex steps and timelines involved in processing applications associated with the SWRCB's authority over post-1914 water rights.
Bureau May Start Charging for Conveyance - A report by the the U.S. Inspector General finds that the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation may be able to collect millions of dollars for the movement of transfer and non-project water through their conveyance infrastructure and use the revenues to pay off the original cost of constructing the CVP.
Trump Administration Propose Increasing Delta Exports - Pursuant to President Trump's directive, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation has issued Notice of Intent for preparation of environmental document to authorize maximizing the amount of water exported from the Delta by the Central Valley Project (CVP) pumps.
Interim Report on Delta Consumptive Water Use Released - The UC Davis Center for Watershed Science released an interim study commissioned by the Delta Watermaster on measuring consumptive water use in the Delta. Research teams evaluated crop evapotranspiration (direct evaporation and plant transpiration) which could be used in future discussions and actions related to administration of water rights, water project management, agricultural irrigation management, and environmental and water quality protection.
Delta Plan Declared Invalid - Judge's clarification ruling on June 24, 2016 declares the entire Delta Plan approved by the Delta Stewardship Council in 2013, and associated EIR, are invalid and must be shelved until revisions are made in accordance with Delta Reform Act statutes to include quantifiable (numeric) targets for certain components, such as reducing reliance on the Delta. DSC's initial declaration of victory in May was therefore premature, and Restore the Delta's claim that original court ruling was a "bullet to the heart" was more accurate. Now DSC must go back to the drawing board to re-draft the plan and EIR.
Melinda Terry, Manager
NORTH DELTA WATER AGENCY
The California Legislature formed the North Delta Water Agency in 1973. By law, the Agency has two general purposes:
1) Protect the North Delta's water supply against saltwater intrusion; and 2) Assure a dependable supply of water for North Delta landowners.