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Member Spotlight Gray Brings Focus on Collaboration to Council

December 2010

For Delta Stewardship Councilmember Gloria Gray, serving on the Council is about considering and applying a variety of viewpoints to restoring and strengthening the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. In more than three decades of public service, and more than 10 different board appointments, Gray is no stranger to solving problems through collaboration.

“During my career, I have reached out and listened to others’ perspective in order to make informed decisions,” said Gray, who was appointed to the Council by former Speaker of the California State Assembly Karen Bass in February of this year. “I believe that is the most important aspect of collaborating with the Delta Stewardship Council members in crafting an equitable Delta Plan.”

Gray has served as a board member of the West Basin Municipal Water District since 2007. In that capacity, she and the Board have doubled water recycling and conservation programs, increased public education and added an ocean water desalination program to the Board’s portfolio. She also helped to implement “Water Reliability 2020,” a program to reduce dependence on imported water from 66 percent to 33 percent. Despite her involvement in the water world, she did not anticipate joining the Delta Stewardship Council.

“I was surprised and honored to be nominated by then-Speaker Karen Bass,” Gray said. “I was also excited about the opportunity to work with a professional group of individuals that bring diverse perspectives to the table for the development of a comprehensive Delta Plan.”

The Delta Stewardship Council, created by the Legislature in November 2009, is a state agency that has been charged with developing a Delta Plan – a comprehensive set of policies and regulations to guide future activities in the Delta, or anywhere in the state that either affects or benefits from the Delta. The 738,000-acre estuary supplies drinking water to about 25 million Californians and is home to 55 fish species, 750 plant species and other wildlife – some of which are endangered or threatened – supported by 1,000 miles of waterways and habitat some of which are endangered or threatened. It is also a vital source of water to California’s multibillion-dollar agricultural industry.

The public process to determine these policies and regulations began in April of 2010 and must be completed by Jan. 1, 2012. Stakeholders and members of the public with an interest in the statutory coequal goals of water supply reliability for California, ecosystem health for the Delta and the Delta as an evolving place are encouraged to follow and contribute to the Council’s process.

“I believe it is important we all work together to assist the Council in achieving the coequal goals,” Gray said. “It has been extremely rewarding working with these individuals who have provided valuable information on regional perspectives as well as personal experiences in water supply management.”

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)