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.