State Senator Melissa Hurtado of Sanger has introduced a new measure to “reimagine water management in the 21st century.” The bill would dissolve the “antiquated” state water board and form a blue ribbon commission to develop a new water system for California that would prioritize preservation and sustainability, according to Hurtado, who partnered with fellow Democratic Sen. Dave Cortese of Silicon Valley on the legislation.
“We need to focus on better water management and true accountability,” said Hurtado in a statement accompanying the bill. “We need government agencies that work for the people, as they’re intended to.”
She called the water board “a bureaucratic barrier” and reasoned that eliminating the board would give “power to those who their policies most greatly impact.”
The measure comes as the Newsom administration dropped efforts last fall for voluntary agreements over environmental flows with south-of-Delta contractors in favor of a controversial Bay-Delta Water Quality Control Plan the board approved in 2018. Farm groups have heavily opposed the plan for setting aside a large fixed portion of flows for supporting ecosystems in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Bay-Delta. The board has yet to approve the second phase of the plan for north-of-Delta contractors.