San Francisco, CA—A resolution to support a voluntary agreement that will improve the ecosystem on the Tuolumne River and ensure water reliability for Bay Area residents was unanimously approved by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission today.
The proposed agreement
includes detailed plans to protect young fish from predators, regulate floodplain and waterflow levels for positive environmental results, and explore opportunities for additional water storage during wet years. The proposed agreement is the result of a collaborative partnership between the SFPUC, the Turlock and Modesto Irrigation Districts, and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. The proposed agreement has also been shared extensively in recent weeks with environmental non-governmental organizations. On March 1, the SPFUC and its partners submitted the outlines of their plan to the State Water Board, a move that was supported by Mayor London N. Breed, Governor Gavin Newsom and U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein.
The SFPUC and its partners developed the proposed agreement as an alternative to the updated Bay Delta Plan approved by the State Water Resources Control Board in December. The SFPUC has voiced concerns with the plan
, as it would dramatically reduce the agency’s water supply, leaving it subject to significant rationing in droughts and potentially unprepared to deal with more extreme weather conditions brought on by climate change.
“We have always said that we will produce a plan that improves the environment and protects the fish of the Tuolumne River, and this agreement is a result of that commitment,” said SFPUC General Manager Harlan L. Kelly, Jr. “I want to thank the SFPUC Commission for recognizing the tremendous effort that went into this proposal, and for supporting a vision that is a win-win for the environment and for the 2.7 million people who rely on us for drinking water.”
While the State Water Board approved the Bay-Delta Plan, it specifically acknowledged the progress of SFPUC and its partners for restoration and management plans for the Tuolumne River. State agencies, other water suppliers and environmental groups will continue to meet with the SFPUC and its irrigation district partners through the Spring to discuss further development and potential implementation of these and other voluntary agreements.
The SFPUC and its irrigation district partners have offered $76 million in funding for the various habitat restoration projects outlined in the agreement, some of which can be planned and implemented immediately.
“The SFPUC has consistently stated that it is searching for the best environmental outcomes for the Tuolumne River and this detailed agreement proves that those were not empty words,” said SFPUC Commission President Ann Moller Caen. “By approving this resolution in unanimous fashion, our Commission is showing our strong backing for a plan that best supports the Tuolumne River. We hope that the State Water Board reviews this unanimous resolution when considering the voluntary agreement as an alternative to the Bay Delta Plan.”
About the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission
The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) is a department of the City and County of San Francisco. It delivers drinking water to 2.7 million people in the San Francisco Bay Area, collects and treats wastewater for the City and County of San Francisco, and generates clean power for municipal buildings, residents, and businesses. The SFPUC’s mission is to provide customers with high quality, efficient and reliable water, power, and sewer services in a manner that values environmental and community interests and sustains the resources entrusted to our care. Learn more at www.sfwater.org.