state approves water cuts; sf eyes plan warily
State regulators approved a controversial water plan late Wednesday (Dec. 12) that the Bay Area Council Economic Institute estimated could gut regional water supplies and provoke widespread building moratoria across the San Francisco, San Mateo and Alameda counties. Yet just before the plan was adopted, Governor Jerry Brown and Governor-elect Gavin Newsom unveiled a voluntary agreement between the State Natural Resources Agency and water users that would generate $1.7 billion to secure 700,000 acre-feet of new environmental flows each year for the San Joaquin River. Under the agreement, the Bay Area would give up 50,000 acre-feet of water each year to the environment and invest millions of dollars in habitat restoration along the Tuolumne River, which feeds the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir and is a tributary to the larger San Joaquin River. San Francisco officials were reviewing the agreement but also indicated they were exploring a possible legal challenge. The Council’s Water Committee will discuss the implication of the agreement at its next meeting on December 17. To attend, or to engage with the Council’s Water Committee, please contact Public Policy Vice President Adrian Covert.