Voluntary agreements in California have been heralded as an innovative and flexible way to improve environmental conditions in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and the rivers that feed it. The aim is to provide fish with rivers and habitat, while delivering enough water to farms and cities in a manner that corresponds to state regulators. Earlier this week, the Newsom government released a new framework of voluntary agreements that could update the bay-Delta water quality plan. Here`s what water organizations and agencies are saying… „We were encouraged to use water to make the landscape prosper – to have farms and to have cities to populate this semi-arid region called western states,” he said. „Some people have changed their minds about this human landscape, and I hope there is a softer way to deal with this change in mentality through voluntary agreements and supply and demand options.” The initial proposal for a voluntary agreement in December 2018, announced with great enthusiasm by the directors of the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife and the Department of Water Resources, turned out to be nothing but smoke and mirrors. Unfortunately, there is ample reason to believe that the same is true of this latter proposal, which was developed without public intervention or revision. Jeffrey Kightlinger, executive director of the Metropolitan Water District in Southern California, made the following statement regarding the Newsom administration`s announcement of a voluntary framework for voluntary agreements to provide additional flows of science, habitat and environment to the Sacramento and San Joaquin River watersheds and the delta. The agreements would decide on an pending update of the water quality control plan for the Bay Delta in front of the Public Water Management Service. Governor Newsom was not discouraged by his commitment and confidence in the process of the current voluntary agreement. The Governor and his government have brought a new sense of urgency and recognition of the need for collaborative water management. „The framework is exactly that, it`s a framework. The state`s vision on some of the most annoying issues associated with updating the Bay Delta plan provides a solid basis for further discussions and hopefully concluding agreements,” said Jennifer Pierre, general manager of the state-owned water management company.
„It is essential to harmonize other authorities before the agreements are concluded.