At a virtual meeting on the Delta last week, Karla Nemeth, director of the State Department of Water Resources, said the state continued to behave with representatives of interests. Over the past twelve years, the National Water Management Board has conducted a comprehensive and transparent public process to review and update water quality standards for the Bay Delta. As part of this process, the Council evaluated a number of alternatives, and the scientific basis for these alternatives has been subject to several rounds of independent peer review – a review by independent scientific experts. However, as part of a parallel process to avoid regulatory action, a group of interested parties negotiates a so-called voluntary agreement, often held at confidential meetings (which for years has required public authorities, local water districts and other parties to sign a confidentiality agreement to participate in discussions, regardless of the requirements of the Public Records Act). Earlier this week, the Newsom government released a new framework of voluntary agreements that could update the bay-Delta water quality plan. Here`s what water organizations and agencies are saying… “Unfortunately, the reality of voluntary agreements has not been able to match our hopes and expectations,” she said. “We are in a place where we have not been able to support what the administration has presented.” Andrew Fecko, executive director of the Placer County Water Agency, was the sacramento area`s lead representative for voluntary agreements. He said the Newsom framework could reflect in some respects, but on a larger scale, the old settlement arrangements such as the American River Water Forum Agreement 2000, where Sacramento`s regional interests engage water and habitat improvement in favor of the lower American River. Kim Delfino, the former California director of the Defenders of Wildlife, said it was necessary to “give,” either environmentalists give in or federal water contractors are willing to put more on the table.
A voluntary agreement, she said, would be part of the Update of the State Water Board`s The Delta Bay Water Quality Plan, where the benchmarks are viable fish populations and a doubling of the salmon stock. There is really only one choice if you are dealing with California`s future, and that is respect for voluntary agreements. In a commentary published in CalMatters on February 10, which called the Newsom administration “imperfect but necessary,” they found that Delta`s current management was over a handful of endangered fish and that the voluntary agreement framework was taking “a serious attempt” to go beyond that approach. The authorization, which goes against the federal government`s goal of increasing exports, imposes most of the additional flow that would have been provided in the voluntary agreements, but without their flexibility, adaptive management or housing arrangements, said Paul Helliker, general manager of the San Juan Water District, a federal company of the Central Valley Project on the shores of Folsom Lake. , an American river reservoir northeast of Sacramento.