BAKERSFIELD –Today, Governor Brown and representatives of the Obama Administration announced a new approach to restoring the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta (Delta) and improving the water supplies of the 25 million Californians and more than 3 million acres of farms that depend on water from the Delta. The new approach announced today continues plans for large-scale habitat restoration in the Delta and continues development of new pipelines to move water through the State Water Project.
The previous approach to solving the Delta’s ecosystem and water supply crisis, known as the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP), was developed over the past eight years to provide ecosystem enhancements in exchange for 50-year permits to move water across the Delta. However, in recent months, the State and federal agencies responsible for issuing the permits have indicated they are unable to issue them because of uncertainties related to climate change and other environmental factors. The Governor’s new approach continues the investment in habitat restoration and construction of new pipelines; however, now under short-term permits that can be more easily modified in the future.
“We are anxious to see the details of the Governor’s new approach, and to review the habitat restoration and water supply benefits of the new plan. The Kern County Water Agency was a major funding partner for the BDCP, and we are hopeful that the new approach will provide the similar water supply benefits,” said Kern County Water Agency (Agency) Board of Directors President Ted Page.
California’s water supply infrastructure is many decades old and was designed to serve a much smaller population. The risk of earthquakes, drought and ever-tightening environmental regulations make it essential for California to upgrade its water system now. The Governor’s new plan is intended to allow the State to transport water more efficiently by protecting the water system from earthquakes, better preparing for droughts and improving the Delta ecosystem.
“Once the State and federal agencies release the details of the new plan, the Agency will review them to determine if the new plan can meet local water supply needs at an affordable cost,” said Page.
The Kern County Water Agency (Agency) was created in 1961 by a special act of the State Legislature and serves as the local contracting entity for the State Water Project. The Agency, which celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2011, participates in a wide scope of management activities, including water quality, flood control and groundwater operations to preserve and enhance Kern County’s water supply—the main ingredient for the well-being of an economy.