On March 14, the California Natural Resources Agency released the first four of 12 draft chapters of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP). The plan proposes new water intakes and tunnels and habitat restoration to reverse the decline of native fish populations in the Delta and provide reliable water deliveries for two-thirds of California's population and much of the state's agricultural economy.
"The Water Authority looks forward to reviewing the draft Bay Delta Conservation Plan as its component chapters are released over the coming weeks," said Maureen Stapleton, general manager of the San Diego County Water Authority. "We hope this draft and future revised drafts analyze a full range of alternatives for fixing the water supply and ecosystem challenges in the Bay-Delta, including both the BDCP's preferred alternative - the dual-tunnel, 9,000 cfs project -- and the Portfolio Alternative advanced earlier this year. We need to make sure a Bay-Delta project is right-sized, affordable and gets built."
Key elements of the state's preferred proposal include construction of a double-bore tunnel to move water 35 miles under the Delta to the state and federal aqueducts. Estimated costs for this plan are $14 billion. A draft EIS/EIR is expected to be released later this year.
Ratepayers that use these systems, including residents of San Diego County, would be responsible for paying the costs of a new Bay-Delta water conveyance project. In recent years, about 22 percent of the San Diego region's water supply has come from the Bay-Delta.
About the Bay-Delta Portfolio Plan Alternative
The Water Authority is part of a diverse coalition of large urban water agencies and major environmental groups calling on state and federal officials to evaluate an alternative approach for addressing the complex water supply and ecological problems in the Delta called the Portfolio Alternative.
At its core, the Portfolio Alternative proposes a scaled-down conveyance system for moving water around or under the Bay-Delta - the linchpin of the state water system - and a plan to invest $5 billion in an array of local water projects to reduce reliance on imported water. The total price tag would be similar to, or smaller than current estimates for the large-scale conveyance system.
The portfolio alternative was put forward by the Natural Resources Defense Council, Planning and Conservation League, Defenders of Wildlife, The Bay Institute, Contra Costa Council, and Environmental Entrepreneurs In addition to the Water Authority, the water agencies supporting the evaluation of the portfolio alternative include: East Bay Municipal Utility District, Alameda County Water District, Contra Costa Water District, Otay Water District, the City of San Diego and the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission.
The portfolio alternative calls for:
For more information about the Bay-Delta:
- Increased water exports from the Bay-Delta in wet years and smaller water exports in dry years.
- A North Delta diversion facility and tunnel for 3,000 cubic feet of water per second (as opposed to 9,000 cfs in the BDCP's preferred alternative)
- Major statewide investments in water recycling, urban conservation, groundwater cleanup, capturing storm water and other local water supply development.
- Improved physical connections between water agencies in the Bay Area, Central Valley and Southern California to aid the movement of water and to use infrastructure more efficiently.
- New surface and/or groundwater storage south of the delta for storing wet-year deliveries for use in subsequent dry years.
- Levee upgrades to protect people and infrastructure in the Delta.
- Delta floodplain and tidal marsh restoration on approximately 40,000 acres.
Top Issue: Bay-Delta Conservation Plan
Bay-Delta Conservation Plan
Portfolio-Based Bay-Delta Conservation Plan Conceptual Alternative
Conceptual Alternative Cover Letter - Jan. 16, 2013
Urban Agency Letter - Jan. 16, 2013
Presentations and videos from Feb. 20 Water Talks: A Bay-Delta Fix: Impacts to Your Water Supply and Wallet