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California's Water Future, a growing coalition of businesses, agricultural groups, water agencies, planning organizations and local government officials announced its support of the upcoming environmental review process for the South Delta Improvements Program (SDIP), the next step forward in California's long-term plan to better manage the Bay-Delta's water resources and ecosystem.
With California facing a critical challenge to provide a safe, reliable, and high-quality water supply that keeps up with the state's rising population and fast-growing trillion-dollar economy, California's Water Future is mobilized to actively support SDIP, a project of the California Department of Water Resources (DWR). Two thirds of California receives its water from the San Francisco Bay/Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
"Water is one of our state's most precious resources," said Terry Erlewine, general manager of the State Water Contractors (SWC). "We have limited water supplies in our arid state, so we must do a better job of managing our existing water resources, especially in the Bay-Delta."
DWR, along with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, released a draft Environmental Impact Statement/Environmental Impact Report (EIS/EIR) for SDIP, initiating a 90-day statewide public review, participation and comment period.
The SDIP includes the installation of seasonal tidal gates to enhance water quality and circulation and to protect certain fish species. The project also calls for the dredging of key channels to improve water deliveries for local farmers. Pending objective scientific and analytic study of Delta conditions, Delta smelt and other pelagic (open water) species, SDIP also will provide for additional flexibility to modestly increase water deliveries when surplus water is available and when it is environmentally safe.
"Water is the lifeblood of California - critical to our families, farms and businesses," said Rex Hime, president and CEO of the California Business Properties Association. "We must embrace a responsible, balanced approach to addressing our water resource needs in California, to ensure California's future water supplies are available for residential, agricultural and industrial uses in the Bay Area, Central Valley and Southern California."
Members of the California's Water Future coalition are supporting SDIP, a key component of the CALFED Bay-Delta Program, because it will provide multiple benefits to Californians, including improved water quality, enhanced fish protection and strengthened water supply reliability.