CSPA worked closely with the Environmental Water Caucus to develop and update the EWC California Water Solutions Now report that establishes both a path and goal for restoring devastated Bay-Delta fisheries while meeting the water supply needs of California. The report identifies six fundamental criteria and ten basic principles of water policy reform. Previous plans for the Delta Estuary have failed because responsible state and federal authorities have refused to apply these criteria and principles to plans and projects.
The six fundamental criteria include:
- A water availability analysis must be conducted to align water needs with availability.
- A benefit/cost analysis must be conducted to determine economic desirability of any plan.
- Public trust and sociological values must be balanced against the value of water exports.
- Existing water quality regulations must be enforced in order to recover the Estuary.
- The explicit requirements of NEPA and CEQA must be rigorously followed.
- Any plan must meet the NCCP recovery standard for fish species.
The ten principles of water reform include:
- California must respect and adjust to meet the natural limits of its waters and waterways, including the limits imposed by climate change.
- Every Californian has a right to safe, sufficient, affordable, and accessible drinking water.
- California’s ecosystems and the life they support have a right to clean water and to exist and thrive, for their own benefit and the benefit of future generations.
- California must maximize environmentally sustainable local water self-sufficiency in all areas of the State, especially in the face of climate change.
- The quality and health of California’s water must be protected and enhanced through full implementation and enforcement of existing water quality, environmental, and land use regulations and other actions, and through new or more rigorous regulations and actions as needed.
- All Californians must have immediate and ready access to information and the decisionmaking processes for water.
- California must institute sustainable and equitable funding to ensure cost-effective water reliability and water quality solutions for the state where “cost-effective” includes environmental and social costs.
- Groundwater and surface water management must be integrated, and water quality and quantity must be addressed on a watershed basis.
- California’s actions on water must respect the needs and interests of California Tribes, including those unrecognized Tribes in the State.
- California must overhaul its existing, piecemeal water rights policies, which already over-allocate existing water and distribute rights without regard to equity.