In an 11-0 vote on October 30, 2018, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed a resolution supporting the State Water Resources Control Board’s immediate update of the San Joaquin Flow portion of the Bay-Delta Plan. Introduced by Supervisor Aaron Peskin following meetings with several environmental and fishing organizations including CSPA, the resolution recognizes the need for San Francisco and its Bay Area contractors to release more water from dams to protect the lower Tuolumne River, the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, and San Francisco Bay.
The San Joaquin flow objectives in the plan are due to be adopted by the State Water Resources Control Board on November 7. As currently written, these objectives would require 40% of the unimpaired flow in the Stanislaus, Tuolumne and Merced rivers in the months of February-June to pass past dams on those rivers, through the Delta and into the Bay.
The resolution follows a two-year campaign with the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, the City’s water agency, to accept the State Water Board’s flows. Led by the Tuolumne River Trust, this campaign did not move the SFPUC off a proposal to require release of less than half the flows proposed by the State Water Board. An appeal to the Board of Supervisors’ environmental values produced a more positive outcome.
Over almost a decade of advocacy, CSPA has supported flows from the lower San Joaquin River greater than 40% of the February-June unimpaired flow, with explicit exceptions for drought years. With the State Water Board poised to act, CSPA supports action by the State Water Board to adopt flow objectives without delay, and working through any refinements after adoption.
Note: On November 2, 2018, San Francisco Mayor London Breed vetoed the resolution. The Board of Supervisors will not meet again before the State Water Board’s November 7, 2018 meeting to consider the Bay-Delta Plan.