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Updates from Friends of the San Francisco Estuary
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Sacramento River, Spring 2015

 

Current Water Updates for the San Francisco Bay-Delta Estuary

 

June 2015

What's Happening Today:

DROUGHT ACTIONS AFFECTING THE SAN FRANCISCO ESTUARY

“Relaxed” Water Quality Regulations
The measly snowpack this year is already gone, meaning that spring runoff has finished too—what is in our reservoirs is what we have until the rains return. We rely on that water not only for drinking water, but also as a controlled release to manage the freshwater hydraulic salinity barrier—pushing back the influx of saltwater from San Francisco Bay to maintain water quality for those who get their water from the Delta. We also use reservoir releases, particularly in the fall, to control instream water temperatures for the protection of endangered fish species...

Emergency Drought Barrier
Since salinity in the Delta is high and could compromise water quality at the pumps, the Department of Water Resources has installed an emergency drought barrier in the Delta to prevent too much saltwater from the San Francisco Bay from reaching the Delta pumps...

Sacramento River Temperature Management Plan
For several fish species, much of the damage was done earlier in the year during the critical spring period when regulations were first relaxed...  See more below.

 

Voluntary 25% Reduction
Delta farmers with riparian water rights have volunteered to take a 25% reduction in their water supply now in order to prevent surprise cuts later in the year...

Senior Water Rights Curtailments
The State Water Resources Control Board has issued curtailment notices to 114 senior water rights holders who take water from the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers and the Delta...
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STATE WATER LEGISLATION

Late-emerging legislation designed to deal with the drought was part of the budget package California lawmakers passed on Friday...

AB 1242 Water quality: impacts on groundwater: instream flows (Gray) is under review today in the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee...
 
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FEDERAL DROUGHT LEGISLATION: DO NO HARM

Congressman Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael), along with other House Democrats, has announced draft legislation to provide drought assistance and improve water supply reliability in California and other states.

House Republicans are also expected to propose drought legislation in the coming days or weeks.
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SACRAMENTO RIVER TEMPERATURE MANAGEMENT PLAN

In February, the State Water Resources Control Board (State Board) granted a petition by the Department of Water Resources and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation to relax Delta outflow standards for two months, but rejected the petition to simultaneously increase pumping levels.

This decision came with some consequences: the relaxation of Delta outflow standards caused even more stress to threatened and endangered species already under strain, compromising the ability of our fish and wildlife to withstand the effects of the drought...
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REGIONAL NEWS FOR THE ESTUARY

North Bay

Marin Municipal Water District (MMWD) is being sued over its tiered rate structure in a lawsuit similar to the recently settled San Juan Capistrano case...


Delta

  • Five million dollars has been dedicated to controlling invasive water hyacinth in the Delta this year...
  • Privately-owned California Water Service Co. (Cal Water), which serves central Stockton, is imposing “water budgets” on its customers...

East Bay

Contra Costa Water District (CCWD) customers reduced their water use in May by 27 percent over May 2013 levels...


South Bay

San Jose Water Company, which serves most of the City of San Jose is also implementing monthly water allocations...
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