Environmental groups are praising the Newsom administration for moving forward on phase one of the 2018 Bay-Delta Plan. Last month state agencies told water districts south of the Delta that were involved in negotiating voluntary agreements over water flows that their proposal was insufficient and it was time to move forward.

“We welcome this improvement for our waterways for the environmental justice communities that our organizations represent and protect,” wrote the groups in a letter to Gov. Gavin Newsom last week.

The groups called for Newsom to go further and cut off negotiations over north-of-Delta voluntary agreements. The second phase of the Bay-Delta Plan would apply more aggressive cutbacks to diversions along the Sacramento River.

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Newsom has advocated for voluntary agreements throughout his tenure. His cabinet officials said without them the fate of ecosystems and actions to protect them would be stalled by legal battles for another decade. Irrigation districts and the city of San Francisco have already filed lawsuits over the plan.