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Council May Tap Water Boards Authoritative Expertise - State Water Board Plays Critical Role in Delta Plan Implementation

April 2011

The State Water Board will likely play a large role in the development of the Delta Plan. At the Council’s March meeting Delta Watermaster Craig Wilson said his employer has the legal teeth to help implement the Council’s state-mandated coequal goals.

“It’s clear that the State Water Board is the principal agency exercising the adjudicatory and regulatory functions of the state (with regards to water),” said Wilson. “The SWB’s authority will be used to implement the coequal goals, including the sub goals and strategies.”

Many of the regulatory details being recommended in the Delta Plan fall under the authority of the State Water Board, including regulating stressors (flows, upstream contaminants, invasive species and legacy pollutants), water use efficiency and the monitoring of proper water use and water quality.

As Watermaster, Wilson is given authority to monitor and report, as well as take enforcement actions within the Delta. His position also affords him a great deal of independence from the Board in issues such as implementing and enforcing existing water-rights laws.


“You’re uniquely positioned to provide recommendations to this Council because of your position and experience,” Council Chair Phil Isenberg said. “Consider this a general invitation to provide specific wording to incorporate into the Delta Plan.”

Wilson obliged by encouraging the Council to incorporate the Board’s Bay Delta Water Control Plan and the 2008 Delta Strategic Work plan into the final version of the Delta Plan. The Council also recognized the need to weave other completed plans into the mix, but only to the extent that they promote the coequal goals.

Council member Felicia Marcus suggested the Council engage with the Federal Environmental Protection Agency and the Water Board to anticipate what should be included in the Delta Plan beyond flow standards.

“We have the beauty of playing the role of the ‘Great Integrators,’” Marcus said.

To view the Watermaster’s PowerPoint presentation, click here.

To view the State Water Board fact sheet, click here.

To view the Watermaster’s report on the State Water Resources Control Board’s Role in Implementing the Delta Plan, click here.

Coequal goals

The Delta Stewardship Council was created in legislation to achieve the state mandated coequal goals for the Delta. "'Coequal goals' means the two goals of providing a more reliable water supply for California and protecting, restoring, and enhancing the Delta ecosystem. The coequal goals shall be achieved in a manner that protects and enhances the unique cultural, recreational, natural resource, and agricultural values of the Delta as an evolving place." (CA Water Code §85054)