The nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office has issued a report recommending lawmakers accelerate the adoption of the controversial Bay-Delta Water Quality Control Plan governing freshwater flows into the Sacramento-San Joaquin Bay-Delta. An Assembly budget subcommittee will discuss the issue Wednesday as it considers funding new staff positions to support the plan.
“Updating the water quality objectives for the Delta watershed is long overdue and should be a high priority for the state to complete,” the policy advisors write. “The Legislature may want to consider whether it could take steps to help expedite [the State Water Resources Control Board’s] progress.”
Those steps could include new statutory guidelines or deadlines. The board currently expects to adopt new flow standards for the second phase of the plan in fall 2023, which would kick off development of an implementation plan. The LAO report suggests lawmakers press the board on why the process has taken so long and what the agency is doing to protect fish in the meantime.
The report does not mention the years-long effort to come to voluntary agreements that would avoid the more inflexible regulatory approach in the Bay-Delta Plan.