Oakland—By law, the state is required to develop a scientifically solid plan to ensure that enough fresh water flows into San Francisco Bay to keep the water clean and to support thriving fisheries that depend on a healthy Bay ecosystem. However, Governor Gavin Newsom's administration is attempting to circumvent this requirement. At the expense of Bay health, the administration is opting instead to pursue a series of surrogate agreements developed by water districts that supply water to industrial agricultural operations, southern California, and the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission.
In opposition to these so-called "Voluntary Agreements," Baykeeper and its allies detailed how the governor's framework relies on unsupported strategies that would fail to protect water quality for Bay-Delta communities and fisheries. The toothless agreements would also accelerate the conditions that cause toxic harmful algal blooms.
Baykeeper Senior Scientist Jon Rosenfield, PhD, commented:
"The people of California deserve a comprehensive, scientifically solid plan to protect the health of the Bay-Delta and its watershed, as well as the communities that depend on it, as promised under state and federal law.
"Governor Newsom should encourage the State Water Resources Control Board to complete its long-overdue update of the Bay’s Water Quality Control Plan rather than adopt a deal written by and for Big Ag and Big City water districts. The result could devastate West Coast fisheries, the fishing industry, imperiled species, and turn Bay Area waters toxic."