During the Delta Stewardship Council’s March meeting, Paul Kelley, Vice Chair of the California Water Commission, told the Council that new surface storage should be an integral part in any plan to fix the Delta. He said the storage would keep vast amounts of rain water and snow melt from running to the ocean, making it available for use during California’s frequent drought periods.
Kelly pointed out to the Council that the Commission will determine which storage projects will move forward if the $11 billion water bond is passed in 2012.
“There is $3 billion for storage projects as part of the bond measure,” Kelley said. “The Commission has been directed to determine which projects will receive that funding.”
The first of the Council’s state-mandated coequal goals is to provide California with a more reliable water supply. To assist in answering this equation, one item being debated for inclusion in the Delta Plan is the possible recommendation of developing more surface storage south of the Delta.
“There are many important parallels between the work that we will do at the Commission level and that of the Council,” Kelley said. “And we, like you, will be looking to integrate sound water-related investments to support long-term sustainability for water supply and ecosystems.”
Council Executive Officer Joe Grindstaff felt the complementary views between the two state agencies will assist state lawmakers when the issues are discussed in the legislature.
“It would be tremendous if the Commission could say these are the priorities of the state and we are going to tell our members of legislature, if we do these things, they will bring the most benefit for the state,” Grindstaff said.
Along with approving funding for surface and groundwater storage projects, the Commission’s charge includes approving all Department of Water Resources regulations, overseeing the State Water Project, securing federal appropriations for state and federal water projects and advising the state legislature on statewide water operations and planning issues.
To view the California Water Commission Fact Sheet, click here.
To view the California Water Commission Workplan for 2011, click here.