A recent State Water Resources Control Board workshop on water quality issues in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta began as most do. Dozens of environmental advocates vehemently rejected a voluntary agreement proposed for the Tuolumne River watershed, arguing the state has delayed action and brokered a backroom deal with influential water interests.
Then the workshop took a new turn, when dozens of Bay Area cities weighed in.
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The urban water districts argued the Bay-Delta Water Quality Control Plan without the agreement would require hundreds of thousands of residents to ration up to 54% of their use during extended drought periods. The cutbacks would hit Silicon Valley and hurt housing growth, they said.
The districts represent a region where Gov. Gavin Newsom got his start in politics—long before he proposed the framework for the voluntary agreements.
The board will vote on the agreement in the coming months.