NORTH DELTA WATER AGENCY
Melinda Terry, Manager
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.
June 5 Delta Conservancy Workshop on Restoration Corridor Strategy, Jean Harvie Center, 6:00 pm
June 6 NDWA Board of Directors meeting
WaterFix Construction Entity Created - Effective May 14, 2018 , the Metropolitan Water District, Santa Clara Water District, and Zone 7 Water Agency executed a Joint Powers Agreement to form the Delta Conveyance Design and Construction Authority (DCA). The first DCA meeting is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. on May 17th to consider approving entering a management partnership with DWR for construction of WaterFix. On a parallel track DWR announced creation of the Delta Conveyance Office (DCO) to oversee work of the DCA.
WaterFix Petition Hearing - Hearings cancelled through June 29th so DWR can publicly release administrative draft of Supplemental EIR it is preparing. The SWRCB announced Part 2 of the WaterFix Petition hearings are postponed a second time and rescheduled to start on February 8th to provide more time for the hearing officers to review motions filed by Delta Alliance et al and Sacramento County et al, both alleging violations of the ex parte rules. DWR provided response opposing the City of Antioch et al motion asking for continuance of WaterFix hearing Part 2 and reopening of Part 1 due to project changing to single tunnel and new operations scenario submitted by DWR showing significant increases in salinity than modeling submitted during Part 1.
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.
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.
Deadline to Install Water Measurement Devices - The State Water Resources Control Board reminds water users that January 1, 2018 is the deadline to install water measurement devices pursuant to 2015 legislation. Check SWRCB website for forms for measurement methods, alternative compliance plans, and requests for additional time.
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 Tourism Website Launched - A joint venture by the Delta Conservancy and Delta Protection Commission has resulted in a new website, VisitCaDelta.com, to promote tourism in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
Seattle's Tunneling Machine Reaches Target - After four years of delays due to equipment repairs and a labor strike, video shows the "Big Bertha" tunneling machine reaching end of its 2-mile long journey. A double-deck highway will be constructed inside and opened to Seattle drivers in 2019.
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.
Congressional Investigation of Westlands - Congressman Jared Huffman has requested an investigation of two items: 1) a recent drainage settlement agreement between Westlands Water District (WWD) and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (USBR) that would waive funding debt and environmental responsibilities for WWD; and 2) a Securities Exchange Commission fine issued against WWD for improperly stating financial assets in two bond sales.
Inspector General Investigation of WaterFix Funding - In response to a complaint filed by an anonymous federal employee through the Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, an investigation of possible illegal use of federal funding by the State of California for the WaterFix project has been initiated by an Inspector General with the U.S. Interior Department.
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