Steep Water Restrictions Loom as Talks Collapse
Millions of Bay Area water users could see cuts of up to 50% in dry years after state water officials walked away from negotiations over a contested plan to increase water flows in Northern California rivers. Without an agreement between the state and multiple water agencies, the State Water Board is now poised to implement the original 2018 Bay-Delta Water Quality Control Plan in its entirety. Under the plan, which the Bay Area Council opposed, the Bay Area would shoulder more than half of the required cuts and see a doubling in the likelihood of water shortages in any given year. The Council believes the plan puts an unfair and disproportionate burden on the Bay Area, which is one of the most water efficient regions in the state.
The Council is now working to convene a meeting with the Newsom Administration to discuss the plan’s drastic implications for our region. The conflict also highlights an effort the Council is undertaking to promote massive investment in desalination and wastewater recycling as a critical tool for increasing our water supply and avoiding these kinds of conflicts. Council CEO Jim Wunderman recently penned a commentary in Calmatters outlining how desalination and wastewater recycling can drought proof the region. To engage in our water policy work, please contact Senior Vice President Adrian Covert.