NEW: Statement on Central Valley Salmon Habitat Partnership by SLDMWA Chairman

“The Central Valley Salmon Habitat Partnership is an innovative and new approach to restoring the ecosystem needs of salmon and steelhead in the Central Valley. Efforts over the past quarter century have not achieved the goals they set out to accomplish for either fish or the water user community and this approach represents a new path forward.
California needs reliable water supplies to sustain our farms, communities, and quality of life but that can’t happen when critical environmental resources are struggling. Guided by science, the Partnership of farmers, fishermen, scientists, state and federal agencies, and policy-makers can find and support projects that make a real difference for Central Valley salmon and steelhead.”
—Cannon Michael, SLDMWA Chair
For more information on the Central Valley Salmon Habitat Partnership, click here.



Request for Proposals – Disadvantaged Community Involvement Program

Request for Proposals

Disadvantaged Community Involvement Program

 

The San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority, on behalf of the eight Regional Water Management Groups of the Proposition 1 San Joaquin Funding Area, has issued a Request for Proposals soliciting consultant support to develop and implement a Disadvantaged Community Involvement Program for the region.

The Proposition 1 Disadvantaged Community Involvement Program grant is intended to support efforts that:

  • Increase understanding within the San Joaquin Funding Area of the water challenges faced by Disadvantaged Communities (DAC) in their respective regions and the DAC preferred long-term solution(s) to those challenges;
  • Conduct necessary outreach, education, engagement, and capacity-building activities to increase DAC understanding of the Integrated Regional Water Management (IRWM) planning process and its importance and meaningful participation in the IRWM planning process;
  • Support project development to ensure DAC projects are more competitive for planning and/or construction funding; and
  • Promote the long-term and sustainable engagement of DACs in the IRWM process.

The Authority has worked with regional stakeholders, counties, cities, disadvantaged communities, environmental justice organizations, and other interested parties to develop this RFP.  The Authority looks forward to improving the status of DAC involvement and especially success in securing vital state funding to support their water supply, quality, management, and infrastructure needs.

 

For more information on the RFP process or to obtain a copy of the proposal guidelines contact ara.azhderian (at) sldmwa.org. Completed proposals are due on or before 5 p.m., Friday, September 15, 2017.

 




NEW: SLDMWA Members Partnering with State and Federal Agencies on Water Recycling Program

Collaborative program improving water management for communities, farms, and the environment

Federal, state and local partnerships can achieve a lot and that’s what happened recently with the announcement of more than $89 million in Proposition 1 funding for refuge water supply and conveyance improvement projects. San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority members Grassland, Del Puerto, and San Luis Water Districts have been working together and with the Cities of Modesto, Ceres, and Turlock to deliver more reliable water supplies to wildlife refuges and farms on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley, while improving the quality of water being returned from our cities to the San Joaquin River. Together with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, these collaborative partnerships work towards meeting the 25-year old implementation of the Central Valley Project Improvement Act. The addition of California’s Proposition 1 grant funding brings an important partner to the table.

Improving reliability for farms and wildlife refuges

Many people aren’t aware that some of California’s most important wildlife areas exist alongside some of the state’s most productive farmland. Grassland Water District General Manager Ric Ortega said, “This is huge. These awards will help deliver a significant amount of water critical to the refuges and farms in the Valley. These collaborative approaches are instrumental in sustaining our wildlife and our local ag economies in the long term. The cost share financial commitments that helped leverage these dollars recognize the role agricultural water users play in protecting our environment today and preserving it for generations to come.”

“This is just the latest of many examples of how recognized the North Valley Regional Recycled Water Program is as a solution to the issues that South of the Delta water users face,” said Del Puerto General Manager Anthea Hansen. “We are pleased to celebrate the receipt of this grant with our partners at Grassland Water District, and look forward to working with them on this and other projects in the future,” she said.

Water bond funding improves wildlife areas across California

In addition to funding projects in Grassland Water District and other South of Delta refuges, Proposition 1 funds were also awarded to Biggs-West Gridley Water District for the Gray Lodge Wildlife Area Water Supply Project and to Ducks Unlimited for the Sutter National Wildlife Refuge Lift Station Project.

 

Learn more about the North Valley Regional Recycled Water Program.

 




Temperance Flat Dam Media Coverage

Temperance Flat Dam

 

Recent Temperance Flat Dam Media Coverage

A big dam east of Fresno has been talked about for years. Now it’s time to talk money  Fresno Bee,  8/24/27

State Assembly Speaker takes tour of proposed Temperance Flat location  KSEE,  8/23/17 

Speaker Rendon Hints At Support For Temperance Flat  KVPR,  8/22/17

Temperance Flat Dam one step closer  KMPH,  8/15/17

Valley leaders request $1.3 billion for Temperance Flat Dam  KSEE,  8/14/17

Supporters push to build $3 billion project at Temperance Flat Dam  KFSN,  8/14/17

Temperance Flat Dam investment will pay off for California  Modesto Bee,  8/13/17

 




Statement on San Joaquin River Water Infrastructure Authority Press Conference – Application Signing Ceremony

(The following is a revised statement by the San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority on the San Joaquin River Water Infrastructure Authority Signing Ceremony) 

Statement by Cannon Michael, Chairman

San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority

“Today’s signing ceremony for the Water Infrastructure Authority application marks an important milestone for the water users we serve. A diverse group of stakeholders have joined together in a bold effort to advance water storage for California. As chairman of the San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority, I am proud to be a part of this historic action,” said Cannon Michael, chairman of the San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority.

“Surface water is vital to California. From our agriculture to our information technology to environmental management, the cities, counties, tribes and public water agencies represented here share a common bond. That bond is the need for adequate and dependable water supplies. Thousands of farmers produce food and fiber on some of the most productive farmland anywhere for consumers that live right here in our back yard and around the world. And as the world leader in technology, Silicon Valley depends on adequate and dependable water supplies to fuel the innovation of the future.

“Temperance Flat Dam will enhance California’s water supply, both for economic purposes and also to provide important ecosystem benefits. Fisheries and wetlands, stream flow and riparian forests will all thrive in the future with the additional water this project will provide. It will also be an important part of our efforts to address climate change. If predictions are right, future storms will be warmer and wetter and our ability to depend on the Sierra snowpack will diminish. It is important to begin preparing for that today.

“We are confident that with projects like this, the Valley and the rest of California will be a better place for our farms, our communities, and the important ecosystem resources that contribute to our quality of life.”




Statement on 100% CVP South of Delta Allocation

Today’s announcement by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) that allocations have been increased to 100 percent for South of Delta farms is welcome news and recognizes the abundance of this year’s near-record rainfall and snowpack.

The increased allocation is appreciated however the timing of the announcement comes after many planting decisions have been made. Many factors tie Reclamation’s hands including a web of over 15 federal, state and local agencies that have led to a broken system that fails to work well for anyone. Check out this infograph outlining the complex network of agencies involved.

We appreciate Reclamation’s willingness to allow farmers to use water they purchased and saved last year and is still sitting in storage. The threat of losing this water meant that farmers who conserved could have been punished for actual conservation.




JOINT STATEMENT: Four Water Agencies Sign Agreement Stating Temperance Flat Reservoir Cooperation

 Four Water Agencies Sign Agreement Stating Temperance Flat Reservoir Cooperation

 

Today four agencies representing water users in the San Joaquin Valley signed a joint letter pledging collaboration to develop the Temperance Flat Reservoir project on the San Joaquin River northeast of Fresno. The joint letter was signed this morning (March 31) during a news conference at Fresno City Hall. Signatories included representatives from the Friant Water Authority, San Joaquin River Exchange Contractors Water Authority, San Joaquin Valley Water Infrastructure Authority, and San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority. The event was hosted by Fresno Mayor Lee Brand, who pledged his support of the group’s ongoing efforts to jumpstart the reservoir project.

In the joint letter, addressed to California Water Commission Acting Executive Officer Taryn Ravazzini, the agencies pledge to work with the United States Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) and contribute equally on staff, funding, support, and other resources to support the Temperance Flat project. Currently, the four agencies are collaborating on technical analyses and an operations plan that would build upon previous Temperance Flat studies, and also provide clarity to how partners in this project — including the State of California — could benefit from new investments in storage on the San Joaquin River. The stated goal of this effort is to develop and submit an application for Proposition 1 storage funding to the California Water Commission by August 14.

A new reservoir in the upper San Joaquin River watershed has been considered for decades to improve operational flexibility, water supply and reliability for the San Joaquin Valley’s water users. Temperance Flat Reservoir, which would have a capacity of 1.3 million acre-feet (2.5 times that of existing Millerton Lake), is proposed on a site several miles upstream from Friant Dam that was the originally proposed location for a Millerton-area reservoir in 1930. The present Friant Dam location was selected to reduce construction costs.

With the 2014 passage of Proposition 1, formally known as the Water Quality, Supply, and Infrastructure Improvement Act, California voters authorized $7.545 billion in general obligation bonds, which includes $2.7 billion for surface water storage development. The California Water Commission is administering the program to award grant funds to eligible projects through a competitive process.

“The limitations of California’s aging water infrastructure to meet present and future challenges have never been more apparent than today. Recent extremes we’ve experienced – back-to-back drought and flood years – demonstrate the challenges that new storage could help address,” said Jason Phillips, Chief Executive Officer of the Friant Water Authority. “Temperance Flat would be connected to both the Delta and the extensive regional plumbing south of the Delta. The project could provide a secure place to store supplies for dry years, improve the capture of high flows for groundwater infiltration in wet years, and provide additional controllable supply that could improve water supply reliability or support ecosystems. Today’s letter provides an important step towards crystalizing the benefits of Temperance Flat and understanding how investors could share in them.”

“If the supply of food and fiber that is produced in the Central Valley and enjoyed by millions around the world is to continue, then a dependable water supply must be developed. California’s forefathers provided a foundation in water that has benefited us through the years and construction of Temperance Flat Reservoir enables us to build on that valuable history and provide an essential portion of the needed water supply that will benefit cities, disadvantaged communities, farms, groundwater recharge and responsible environmental benefits,” said Steve Chedester, Executive Director of the San Joaquin River Exchange Contractors Water Authority.

“Greatly reduced Central Valley Project water deliveries because of Delta environmental restrictions have been the rule for nearly a decade, with severe economic and social impacts caused by diminished water supplies for agriculture, cities and disadvantages rural communities, business and industry,” said Steve Worthley, San Joaquin Valley Water Infrastructure Authority President and Chairman of the Tulare County Board of Supervisors. “Over the past year, the Authority and a growing number of other water agencies have worked tirelessly to support Temperance Flat and to encourage planning and development of other new valley water infrastructure.”

“A quarter century of failed regulatory fish policies has crippled the ability of the Central Valley Project to adequately serve its agricultural, municipal, and environmental responsibilities,” said Water Policy Administrator Ara Azhderian of the San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority. “These failed policies have hurt many working families, disadvantaged communities, wildlife refuges and the groundwater basins we all have had to rely upon to compensate for the loss of our promised surface water. Working together, regional water agencies, local government, communities and other stakeholders have come together to partner with the United States Bureau of Reclamation and the State of California to develop Temperance Flat Dam. Temperance Flat has great potential to help restore lost water supply and recover our depleted groundwater basins, enhance fish and wildlife, and help rejuvenate the communities that provide so much for our state, nation and the world.”

“It completely defies logic to release water, which could be used for human, agricultural, or environmental use, out to the ocean, especially after five years of devastating drought conditions. The entire state of California needs its water infrastructure updated, and that includes building water storage projects, like Temperance Flat Dam. The future viability of the San Joaquin Valley is dependent upon a reliable water supply. Efforts to store water must be improved, both below and above ground, during wet years so water is available during the dry years.” – Congressman Jim Costa

 

Click here for a PDF version of the statement.

 




Joint Letter to Water Commission on Temperance Flat Reservoir

Four organizations, including the San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority, Friant Water Authority, San Joaquin River Exchange Contractors Water Authority, and San Joaquin Valley Water Infrastructure Authority, signed a letter today pledging to work collaboratively with the US Bureau of Reclamation as well as committing resources and funding to support the Temperance Flat Reservoir project. Read the letter here.

The reservoir site, long considered ideal for it’s ability to improve operational flexibility as well as improving water supply and reliability for water users sits several miles upstream of Friant Dam. When the Friant Dam site was chosen to cut costs, the Temperance Flats location provides 1.3 million acre-feet- approximately 2.5 times more storage capacity than Millerton Reservoir.

Read the full press release below, or click here for a PDF version.

 

Four Water Agencies Sign Agreement Stating Temperance Flat Reservoir Cooperation

Today four agencies representing water users in the San Joaquin Valley signed a joint letter pledging collaboration to develop the Temperance Flat Reservoir project on the San Joaquin River northeast of Fresno. The joint letter was signed this morning (March 31) during a news conference at Fresno City Hall. Signatories included representatives from the Friant Water Authority, San Joaquin River Exchange Contractors Water Authority, San Joaquin Valley Water Infrastructure Authority, and San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority. The event was hosted by Fresno Mayor Lee Brand, who pledged his support of the group’s ongoing efforts to jumpstart the reservoir project.

In the joint letter, addressed to California Water Commission Acting Executive Officer Taryn Ravazzini, the agencies pledge to work with the United States Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) and contribute equally on staff, funding, support, and other resources to support the Temperance Flat project. Currently, the four agencies are collaborating on technical analyses and an operations plan that would build upon previous Temperance Flat studies, and also provide clarity to how partners in this project — including the State of California — could benefit from new investments in storage on the San Joaquin River. The stated goal of this effort is to develop and submit an application for Proposition 1 storage funding to the California Water Commission by August 14.

A new reservoir in the upper San Joaquin River watershed has been considered for decades to improve operational flexibility, water supply and reliability for the San Joaquin Valley’s water users. Temperance Flat Reservoir, which would have a capacity of 1.3 million acre-feet (2.5 times that of existing Millerton Lake), is proposed on a site several miles upstream from Friant Dam that was the originally proposed location for a Millerton-area reservoir in 1930. The present Friant Dam location was selected to reduce construction costs.

With the 2014 passage of Proposition 1, formally known as the Water Quality, Supply, and Infrastructure Improvement Act, California voters authorized $7.545 billion in general obligation bonds, which includes $2.7 billion for surface water storage development. The California Water Commission is administering the program to award grant funds to eligible projects through a competitive process.

“The limitations of California’s aging water infrastructure to meet present and future challenges have never been more apparent than today. Recent extremes we’ve experienced – back-to-back drought and flood years – demonstrate the challenges that new storage could help address,” said Jason Phillips, Chief Executive Officer of the Friant Water Authority. “Temperance Flat would be connected to both the Delta and the extensive regional plumbing south of the Delta. The project could provide a secure place to store supplies for dry years, improve the capture of high flows for groundwater infiltration in wet years, and provide additional controllable supply that could improve water supply reliability or support ecosystems. Today’s letter provides an important step towards crystalizing the benefits of Temperance Flat and understanding how investors could share in them.”

“If the supply of food and fiber that is produced in the Central Valley and enjoyed by millions around the world is to continue, then a dependable water supply must be developed. California’s forefathers provided a foundation in water that has benefited us through the years and construction of Temperance Flat Reservoir enables us to build on that valuable history and provide an essential portion of the needed water supply that will benefit cities, disadvantaged communities, farms, groundwater recharge and responsible environmental benefits,” said Steve Chedester, Executive Director of the San Joaquin River Exchange Contractors Water Authority.

“Greatly reduced Central Valley Project water deliveries because of Delta environmental restrictions have been the rule for nearly a decade, with severe economic and social impacts caused by diminished water supplies for agriculture, cities and disadvantages rural communities, business and industry,” said Steve Worthley, San Joaquin Valley Water Infrastructure Authority President and Chairman of the Tulare County Board of Supervisors. “Over the past year, the Authority and a growing number of other water agencies have worked tirelessly to support Temperance Flat and to encourage planning and development of other new valley water infrastructure.”

“A quarter century of failed regulatory fish policies has crippled the ability of the Central Valley Project to adequately serve its agricultural, municipal, and environmental responsibilities,” said Water Policy Administrator Ara Azhderian of the San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority. “These failed policies have hurt many working families, disadvantaged communities, wildlife refuges and the groundwater basins we all have had to rely upon to compensate for the loss of our promised surface water. Working together, regional water agencies, local government, communities and other stakeholders have come together to partner with the United States Bureau of Reclamation and the State of California to develop Temperance Flat Dam. Temperance Flat has great potential to help restore lost water supply and recover our depleted groundwater basins, enhance fish and wildlife, and help rejuvenate the communities that provide so much for our state, nation and the world.”

“It completely defies logic to release water, which could be used for human, agricultural, or environmental use, out to the ocean, especially after five years of devastating drought conditions. The entire state of California needs its water infrastructure updated, and that includes building water storage projects, like Temperance Flat Dam. The future viability of the San Joaquin Valley is dependent upon a reliable water supply. Efforts to store water must be improved, both below and above ground, during wet years so water is available during the dry years.” – Congressman Jim Costa




Joint letter to SWRCB on Bay-Delta Plan amendments and SED

Joint letter recommends the adoption of “Functional Flows” and comprehensive management over continued single-practice management

SLDMWA and Westlands Water District recently sent a comment letter to the State Water Resources Control Board on proposed amendments to the Bay-Delta Plan. The letter, available here, notes that flow regimes, often called “Functional Flow” approaches, are superior to the one being advanced by the SWRCB in current documents.

The letter notes that “under the existing flow-centric approach, which relies upon flow as the master variable and master solution, few beneficial uses of the water involved have been adequately protected. The diagnostic inertia of the current flow-centric regulatory regime has had real, adverse social and economic impacts.”

Fish populations haven’t recovered under existing flow-centric management approaches, but impacts and costs continue to rise

The letter notes the failure of Fish populations and water supplies for urban and agricultural communities and waterfowl have all declined. The painful lessons of the past twenty years have demonstrated that adding flow will not redress most of the physical, chemical and biological changes that have occurred within the watersheds for the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers.

After many decades of managing the ecosystem primarily by regulating the storage, release and diversion of water – the flow of water – a new approach is necessary.

 




Statement: CVP cities and farms finally learn allocation

Many farmers and cities learned just yesterday how much water they could expect from the Federal Government’s Central Valley Project, (one of the state’s big infrastructure projects that delivers water to communities, farms, and wetlands in the Central Valley; and San Benito and Santa Clara Counties). The number they finally heard is most disappointing.

This year is the wettest on record for California- with a 200% of normal precipitation and reservoirs that are so full they are dumping water. And it’s been this way for months. While the drought remains fresh in everyone’s minds, one would think a record breaking 2017 should result in abundant supplies for Californians to grow food, recharge groundwater, and take regular showers again.

That’s why yesterday’s delayed announcement by the Federal government of a mere 65% supply has so many people stunned and concerned about the ability of California’s water system to provide for the future.

For farmers, the news is even more disappointing. The first few months of the year are critical. February and March are the ultimate crunch time for people that produce our food. The decisions being made today to plant crops and hire workers translate to the price and types of locally grown produce available in your grocery store. But none of that can happen when farmers, and the people that rely upon them, don’t know how much water is available.

“Without a timely water allocation, crucial decisions can’t be made on the farm – our water supply drives our ability to grow crops, provide employment, and satisfy the food supply chain that stretches from our farms to the kitchen table,” says Cannon Michael, of Bowles Farms.

“That water flowing into the ocean could be used to meet so many greater needs: recharge and improve groundwater, grow fresh vegetables and fruit, put people back to work, and get communities back on their feet,” Michael continued.

Nonetheless, we must stay focused on addressing the many challenges ahead. California has an abundance of water this year, so what’s keeping us from finally solving the water management challenges we all faced throughout the drought?

“The reality is a quarter century of decisions intended to protect certain endangered species has broken California’s water supply system. The cumulative effect of the policy choices made to implement the ESA has stranded thousands of acre-feet of water carefully conserved by San Joaquin Valley farmers. The federal government used this water to help protect temperature for salmon and to meet other obligations. To turn around and claim that the farmers who made this water available are now at fault for creating their own water supply shortage is just so sad. All Californians should be concerned with the costs our society is bearing for a failed regulatory system that has done nothing tangible to protect endangered fish,” notes Jason Peltier, Executive Director of the San Luis and Delta-Mendota Water Authority.

The policies in place aren’t just hurting people, they’re bad for all water uses, including managing native species.

“The policies they’ve implemented are not good for farms, they’re not good for cities, and they’re not good for the environment. If government cannot ensure a 100% supply in the wettest year on record, what does it mean for an average year? What does it mean for those disadvantaged communities throughout the Central Valley dependent upon agriculture for their livelihood and future? What does it mean for those that value food safety, worker safety, and local access to food grown by some of the most technologically advanced and conscientious farmers in the world?” Peltier asks.

Government can do more to improve our broken policies and modernize the infrastructure that makes California what it is. Improving storage in smart ways is one step we can take now to restore reliability and stability for future generations managing California’s wet and dry cycles. Fixing our broken system is the only thing that will provide true drought relief and long-term water security for all Californians.

“The Authority and our member agencies are fully engaged in the multiple regulatory and planning efforts aimed at meeting the statutory goals of a more reliable water system and improved ecosystems in our state. We do our best to be constructively engaged and continue to commit significant resources to achieve the goals of our customers and the people of California,” concluded Peltier.