Bay Delta Conservation Plan – Draft Chapters Released
The Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) is being prepared through a collaboration of state, federal, and local government agencies, water agencies, environmental organizations, and other interested parties with the goal of improving water supply reliability and ecosystem restoration in California’s Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.
The Administrative Draft of the BDCP is being released in phases. Initial chapters propose habitat restoration to reverse the decline of native fish populations in the Delta and proposes new water intakes and tunnels to provide reliable water deliveries. The remaining chapters are expected to be released in late May 2013. Restoring water supply reliability through the BDCP is important to Southern California and the state. Get the facts, stay informed.
Helpful links to BDCP info:
Frequently Asked Questions
I keep hearing about California’s water supply problem. What is it exactly?
The problem is in the hub of California’s outdated statewide water system, located in Northern California’s Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, a vital estuary for many species and the location of pumping facilities for the State Water Project and the Central Valley Project. These facilities provide vital water supplies for more than 25 million Californians, including 19 million in the Southland, and millions of acres of farmland. As the Delta ecosystem has declined, new regulations have placed stringent restrictions on pumping water to protect certain fish
species. This problem is, at times, compounded by years of low rainfall.
The Delta: 150 Years in 100 Seconds:
See the evolution of the Delta over the last 150 years from a tidal marsh to the patchwork of islands and canals it is today. The video depicts the landscape of the Delta prior to levee construction and how the levees have changed the region from the Gold Rush era to the 1930s.
Seismic Risk in the Sacramento San Joaquin Delta
There are hundreds of miles of unengineered levees that are susceptible to major failures due to flood and seismic risk. This video demonstrates the catastrophic consequences to homes, businesses, farms and habitat in the Delta from a 6.7 magnitude earthquake and how Southern California’s water supply could be cut off for up to two years. Click here for the latest on Delta Disrupted information.
What is being done to fix the problem?
While there are no quick fixes, the problem is being addressed through a 50-year adaptive management plan known as the Bay Delta Conservation Plan, a collaborative effort between state and federal resource and wildlife agencies, environmental organizations and water districts throughout California. The goal is to map out a comprehensive, science-based, long-term conservation and restoration plan for the Delta, including new conveyance alternatives.
In November 2009, an historic package of water bills, known as the Delta package, was signed into law to improve governance of the Delta and to improve water resource management state wide. The package, which is now being implemented, includes the establishment of a Delta Stewardship Council to advance the co-equal goals of ecosystem restoration and water supply reliability. Council members have been selected and the organization is up and running. Delta governance institutions such as the Delta Conservancy, the Delta Protection Commission and the California Water Commission will take the lead on ecosystem restoration and create a new economic strategy for the region.
What are the sources of Southern California's water supply?
About half of Southern California’s supplies are local, and the other half is imported from either the Colorado River (via the Colorado River Aqueduct) or Northern California (via the State Water Project passing through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta).
How will the improvements be paid for?
Water districts like Metropolitan are prepared to make the investments necessary to improve the water conveyance system in the Delta; however, there currently is no funding to restore the Delta ecosystem. An $11 billion bond measure will be placed on the November 2014 ballot that would allocate funds for Delta sustainability and water supply reliability, including statewide water system operational improvements, groundwater protection, water quality improvements, water recycling, conservation and watershed protection.
Can we get by on local supplies until the state’s water supply problem is solved?
The Bay Delta Conservation Plan is a long-term habitat restoration program. Water conveyance improvements will take ten to twelve years to construct. As a result, water districts are focused on alternative water supply strategies including recycling, conservation and groundwater clean-up to make the best use of current supplies. Water resource managers are also making interim habitat improvements to aid Delta species with the aim of restoring pumping operations curtailed in recent years. These strategies will help sustain Southern California while the necessary long-term infrastructure improvements are completed.
What can I do to help?
Watch the "Top Ten Tips" video for helpful information on water conservation. Get more ideas from Metropolitan's gardening guide about drought-tolerant plants and water-wise gardens. Some water-saving measures may be required in your area, so check with your local water agency to find out about laws or limits on water use. Go to bewaterwise.com® to learn more about what you can do to help conserve water.
Historic Delta Legislation Signed Into Law
On November 4, 2009, the California Legislature passed a comprehensive bill that addresses the Delta ecosystem and provides for a reliable water supply for California.
- What is the water crisis in California, and how will these bills address the crisis?