Despite efforts by some legislative Democrats to derail a monumental water management and environmental improvement agreement, Governor Gavin Newsom is right to stand up for water users, farmers and endangered fish species. In an effort to thwart the Trump Administration, Senate Bill 1 attempts to freeze the State Water Project and Central Valley Project’s decade old operating rules and the science that informs them. Newsom’s action is fully consistent with his commitment to prioritize both the environment and the economic and cultural health of the Central Valley.
SB 1 gives the false promise to protect the environment from action by the federal government, when in reality it is barring improvements to the rules water and wildlife officials must follow when operating the state’s water system. At the request of the State Water Resources Control Board and Governor Newsom, regulators, local water districts, water users, and environmentalists have been working tirelessly over the last several months to develop a comprehensive strategy that will modernize the management of California’s most precious resources. Stakeholders have pledged millions of dollars and significant amounts of water to improve habitat and scientific understanding of the Delta and the imperiled species that inhabit it. SB 1 would jeopardize these efforts and double down on the old policies that have failed to improve endangered species populations over the last decade.
It is encouraging that Governor Newsom prioritized sound, collaborative policy making over politics by doing the right thing for the disadvantaged communities of the Central Valley, millions of families that depend on water deliveries and the environment.