In August, 2012, California Water Research released a report, Incorporating Drought Risk Into California Water Resources Planning. Since that time we have been waging a quiet campaign for the Department of Water Resources to recognize that their climate modelling for the Bay Delta Conservation Plan has significant limitations and inconsistencies.
The report says that, if the projections of the drier climate change models hold up, then we will see increasing long and increasingly severe droughts in the Sacramento River watershed, and that we are likely already seeing such changes in the San Joaquin River watershed. Under the drier climate change scenarios, there is simply no way that two 40 foot tunnels can make future CVP or SWP deliveries more reliable. Thus BDCP cannot meet the co-equal goal of “increasing water supply reliability.”
There is also a problem with sea level rise modelling. There are major inconsistencies between agencies within Natural Resources — BDCP modellers have projected a likely value of 18 inches by 2060, while the Delta Stewardship Council and the Delta Risk Management Study have used the highest possible value of 55 inches by 2100.
At the meeting on April 4th, Restore the Delta also delivered a coffin to Jerry Meral.
It now appears that the Department of Water Resources has thrown in the towel on BDCP meeting the co-equal goal of “increasing water supply reliability” as well as meeting the mandates for “Delta as place.” In a blog post on April 5, Nancy Vogel, the spokesperson for DWR, posted a message on the BDCP blog, which said in part,
… The regions that depend upon water exported from the Delta must reduce their future reliance on those supplies, and the state must continue to work with local reclamation districts to protect Delta islands.
Look to the Delta Plan, not BDCP, for the blueprint on how California will improve its statewide water supply reliability and safeguard people and property in the Delta.
They are now saying that the Bay Delta Conservation Plan is primarily a plan to comply with state and federal endangered species laws.
It’s a significant shift, and appears to move the burden for meeting the mandates in the Delta Reform Act to the Delta Stewardship Council.