Washington—The state of California and two federal agencies today announced a revised strategy to complete and implement the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP), the comprehensive proposal to ensure water supply reliability for millions of Californians and guide Delta ecosystem restoration for the next 50 years. State and federal regulatory agencies are expected to complete the draft plan and initiate the formal environmental review process this fall.
“This new approach is a major step toward a real solution in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta,” said Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.). “For the first time since this effort began six years ago, we now have the basis of a coordinated, consolidated plan to achieve the joint goals of ecosystem restoration and reliable water supplies for the 25 million Californians who rely on Delta water. I remain committed to the BDCP process and fully support this action.”
In 2011, Senator Feinstein passed legislation requiring completion of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan by February 15, 2013. The bill also established the federal commitment to the co-equal goals of Delta ecosystem restoration and California water supply reliability, paralleling state law.
The agreement was announced today in Sacramento by California Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr., U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Assistant Administrator Eric Schwaab.
The plan reduces the number of intake facilities necessary to convey water through the Delta from five to three and reduces the total conveyance capacity from 15,000 to 9,000 cubic feet per second to minimize potential environmental impacts.
Improvements to the BDCP planning process include a commitment to developing clear biological objectives that protect species, independent scientific review, sustaining Delta communities and protecting upstream water users from adverse impacts. The revised proposal and a full range of alternatives will also be considered in the environmental review process.