Governor Newsom was not discouraged by his commitment and confidence in the process of the current voluntary agreement. The Governor and his government have brought a new sense of urgency and recognition of the need for collaborative water management. The claim, which was on board with the 2018 version of a framework for voluntary agreements, objected to what the Newsom administration submitted in February and said it had not been consulted prior to the publication of the document. Public water operators have always supported a voluntary approach to updating the Delta Bay Water Quality Control Plan and are encouraged by the framework and progress. With a voluntary agreement, a historic suite of integrated measures that go well beyond the marginal approach of the CBRDS can begin immediately with short-term results. These measures will help meet the needs of native fish species and the millions of Californians who depend on the same water every day to support their homes, farms and businesses. “Voluntary agreements remain the best opportunity to address the flow and non-flow factors that affect our native fish, and we call on public and federal authorities to stick to a negotiated solution, despite the Complaint from the State of California,” the Modesto and Turlock Irrigation Districts said in a february 24 joint statement. The statement said that while both districts sued the state, “it did not prevent the state or state from negotiating in good faith [and] we see no reason why the federal government and the state of California could not do the same.” Despite the proposed voluntary agreements, several water and irrigation authorities are reviewing complaints about the recently announced SWRCB plan, including the Modesto and Turlock irrigation districts. If the counties choose to file a complaint, they have only 30 days to submit such challenges.
Modeto Bee reported that “some believe that the debate on voluntary agreements can continue, even if the parties fight in court.” THE cbsRCB`s approval of the Delta Bay Water Quality Control Plan was followed by the assertion by the leaders of the Department of Water Resources (DWR) and the Department of Fish and Wildlife that considerable progress has been made among stakeholders in concluding voluntary agreements on the Tuolumne River and tributaries of the Sacramento River. Last month, the SWRCB postponed a decision on the Bay Delta plan to allow for discussions, including voluntary agreements, to achieve results. Jeffrey Kightlinger, executive director of the Metropolitan Water District in Southern California, made the following statement regarding the Newsom administration`s announcement of a voluntary framework for voluntary agreements to provide additional flows of science, habitat and environment to the Sacramento and San Joaquin River watersheds and the delta. The agreements would decide on an pending update of the water quality control plan for the Bay Delta in front of the Public Water Management Service. To meet Delta water quality standards, a separate process is required to change water rights to determine who is providing water and how much. The plan would affect communities from afar, including many urban areas. Michael Carlin, deputy general manager of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, which receives water from the Sierra-fed Tuolumne River, said a comprehensive voluntary agreement plan for the Sacramento and San Joaquin basins requires many individual agreements – a comprehensive process that takes months to clarify.
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