Environmental groups are already lining up against Gov. Gavin Newsom’s plan for voluntary agreements over freshwater flows into the Sacramento-San Joaquin Bay-Delta. Some of the more vocal ones that have long opposed the process voiced their opposition immediately. More is certain to come as the plan goes through a public review process with the State Water Resources Control Board, which is expected to begin next winter.

Doug Obegi, a policy advocate for the Natural Resources Defense Council, is arguing the amount of freshwater flows dedicated to the environment are just half of what they should be and alleged environmental groups were left out of the process. NRDC has been a leading litigant in several lawsuits over river flows into the Bay-Delta.

Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, executive director of Restore the Delta, was skeptical that this “agreement to agree” would amount to any new plans. She charged that releasing it the same time as an environmental report on the Delta tunnel project is “jamming” environmental justice communities with too many planning actions to review.

“Drought mismanagement,” she said, “cannot be fixed by the elite few working on a backroom deal with the governor's office.”

Farm groups are lukewarm to the plan as well. California Farm Bureau President Jamie Johansson called for more negotiations to further refine the term sheet “to reach a truly comprehensive solution.”

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“Our farmers and ranchers need alternatives to flow-centric Bay-Delta policies that still fall short in safeguarding our environment and protecting California’s economy,” said Johansson.

And Fresno Rep. Jim Costa applauded the agreements, but called it just a first step.

"We must invest state and federal dollars to increase our water efficiency and supply,” he added.

Completing voluntary agreements would fulfill a pledge Newsom made in his first weeks in office and at a time when he is looking to secure more Central Valley swing votes in the fall election.

Pressure is also mounting on the governor to take more aggressive action in response to the drought. Many have been calling on Newsom to issue mandatory restrictions on residential water use, as then-Gov. Jerry Brown had done during the previous drought.