Events highlight problems with Delta system, ACWA says

Aug. 29, 2007
With separate events today putting Delta issues in the spotlight, the Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA) said the one-two punch of drought conditions and Delta uncertainty already is being felt in many areas of the state. "We are facing some of the most significant challenges to our water system in a half-century," ACWA Executive Director Timothy Quinn said. "Today's events are just the latest signs that the existing Delta system does not work for fish, people or the...

• Court hearing, high-level summit called latest signs that action is needed

SACRAMENTO, CA, Aug. 21, 2007 -- With separate events today putting Delta issues in the spotlight, the Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA) said the one-two punch of drought conditions and Delta uncertainty already is being felt in many areas of the state.

"We are facing some of the most significant challenges to our water system in a half-century," ACWA Executive Director Timothy Quinn said. "Today's events are just the latest signs that the existing Delta system does not work for fish, people or the environment."

The Delta, a key ecosystem and the main switching yard for projects that deliver water to 25 million Californians and millions of acres of farmland, was the focus of a high-level summit in Los Angeles featuring U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein and Governor Schwarzenegger. The summit covered issues such as levee vulnerability, declining fish populations and water quality needs that are raising new uncertainties for the Delta and the state's water system.

"We commend Senator Feinstein and Governor Schwarzenegger for their bi-partisan leadership on water," Quinn said. "It is this type of bi-partisan support that is need at most critical time to achieve success in the Delta."

Meanwhile in Fresno, a four-day evidentiary hearing began in U.S. District Court today on what actions should be taken by the State Water Project and federal Central Valley Project to better protect Delta smelt, a threatened fish species. A range of actions have been proposed, with potentially serious impacts on water deliveries in the coming months.

U.S. District Court Judge Oliver Wanger ruled in May that permits under which the two projects export water from the Delta are inadequate and do not comply with the federal Endangered Species Act. The judge is expected to rule soon on interim actions to protect the fish.

ACWA supports a comprehensive package of investments including additional water storage, Delta conveyance improvements and expanded water use efficiency to address these critical problems.

ACWA is a statewide association of public agencies whose 450 members are responsible for about 90% of the water delivered in California.

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