Newsom’s “Water Resilience Portfolio” Released

Earlier this month, a Water Resilience Portfolio was prepared by the state agencies. In April 2019, Governor Newsom directed state agencies through Executive Order N-10-19 to develop a “water resilience portfolio,” described as a set of actions to meet California’s water needs through the 21st century.

The response from Save the California Delta Alliance’s President, Karen Mann, to the Water Resilience Portfolio was:

It was quite a surprise to see their Portfolio list more than 100 projects; some quite costly – a very ambitious plan! Some of the projects are good ideas, but there was no information about the priority of the projects nor the time line. It was great to see the recycle of storm water and study of desalination as part of this Portfolio. Residents of Discovery bay will be pleased that the 2019 legislation requires the Water Board to establish and maintain program to reduce and/or eliminate Toxic Algae in our waterways.

We note the push to mitigate the needed increase of water flows with Volunteer Settlement Agreements (VSAs). The report states they plan to “harness the best of science, engineering and innovation”; however there has been no scientific evidence that fish can survive the improved habitat without adequate water flows – Fish still need adequate water to live!

Finally, it was a disappointment to see the Tunnel Project was still included – we had hoped we could explore alternative solutions. Even though Governor Newsom declared on 04/29/2019 that the tunnel project would be reconsidered and the project would be redesigned – the only change noted so far (as provided at the DCA’s Stakeholder Engagement Committee (SEC) Meetings) has been essentially the same as prior information as the prior project which had two tunnels now configured for the single tunnel (which may have a 4-6 story diameter, same input location in the Town of Hood, etc.). It was our hope that this Portfolio would also consider alternative solutions which would not require the “invasive” tunnel construction which traverses though the center of the Delta which would result in adverse environmental impacts during the 10+ years of construction, and unknown destruction of the Delta fishery.

In addition, it is worth noting that the State Water Project is the largest user of electricity in California and a significant contributor to climate change. It uses all of the electricity generated by the state’s hydroelectric plants plus billions of kilowatts generated by gas fired power plants every year to pump billions of tons of water from the Delta to Southern California up and over the Tehachapi Mountains and as far south as San Diego. The first and obvious step in resilience is a planned retreat from the climate atrocity of pumping water over a mountain range and instead developing local supplies to replace all water exported south of the Tehachapis.

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