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San Francisco Bay/Sacramento – San Joaquin Delta Estuary (Bay-Delta) Watershed Efforts

State Water Board Bay-Delta Program Links

The Bay-Delta Watershed includes the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers, the Delta where those rivers converge, Suisun Marsh, and the embayments upstream of the Golden Gate. The watershed of the Bay-Delta Estuary is a source of water supplies for much of the state. The water is used for municipal, industrial, agricultural, and environmental purposes. The watershed is a source of drinking water for two-thirds of the state's population and millions of acres of productive farmland. The waterways of the Bay-Delta Estuary and its tributaries also provide critical habitat for numerous threatened and endangered species and recreationally and commercially important species, as well as other public trust values.

The State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) is responsible for developing and modifying the Bay-Delta Water Quality Control Plan which establishes water quality control measures needed to provide reasonable protection of beneficial uses of water in the Bay-Delta Watershed. The State Water Board also implements the Bay-Delta Plan through water rights and other measures and otherwise administers water rights in the Bay-Delta Watershed. Information on these activities is posted at the links below:

Comprehensive Bay-Delta Water Quality Control Planning Efforts

The State Water Board is in the process of developing and implementing updates to the Bay-Delta Plan and flow objectives for priority tributaries to the Delta to protect beneficial uses in the Bay-Delta watershed. Phase 1 of this work involves updating San Joaquin River flow and southern Delta water quality requirements included in the Bay-Delta Plan. Phase 2 involves other comprehensive changes to the Bay-Delta Plan to protect beneficial uses not addressed in Phase 1 (Delta outflows, Sacramento River inflows, Suisun Marsh salinity, Delta Cross Channel Gate closure, export limits, reverse flows). Phase 3 involves changes to water rights and other measures to implement changes to the Bay-Delta Plan from Phases 1 and 2. Phase 4 involves developing and implementing flow objectives for priority Delta tributaries outside of the Bay-Delta Plan updates.

Additional information concerning these processes is available at the links below:

The current timelines for Phases 1 and 2 are as follows:

Phase 1:
Phase 2:
  • October 2016 - Release of Working Draft Scientific Basis Report identifying science supporting potential changes to the Bay-Delta Plan, comments were due December 16, 2016
  • December 2016 - Public Workshop on Working Draft Scientific Basis Report
  • Early 2017 - Independent Peer Review of Final Draft Report (Health and Safety Code ยง11353)
  • Summer 2017 - Draft SED and draft proposed changes to the Bay-Delta Plan released for public comment
  • As early as late 2017 - State Water Board meeting to consider adoption of changes to the Bay-Delta Plan and certification of Final SED

California WaterFix

On August 26, 2015, the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) and U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) filed a change petition to add points of diversion on the lower Sacramento River as part of the California WaterFix project. A Board hearing on the petition commenced on July 26, 2016 and is expected to continue through 2017. In addition, DWR and Reclamation filed an application for a water quality certification pursuant to Section 401 of the Clean Water Act that will be considered administratively in a separate but parallel process.

State Water Board California WaterFix Activities

Drought Information

The State Water Resources Control Board has been engaged in a number of activities related to the continuing drought. Information on these activities is provided at the following links:

Bay-Delta Compliance

Information on some of the Bay-Delta compliance issues is located at the following links:

Water Quality Control Plans and Associated Water Right Decisions

Other Program Links

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