BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                       



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          |SENATE RULES COMMITTEE            |              SB 1XXXXXXX|
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                                 THIRD READING


          Bill No:  SB 1XXXXXXX
          Author:   Simitian (D) and Steinberg (D)
          Amended:  10/29/09
          Vote:     21

           
          WITHOUT REFERENCE TO COMMITTEE


           SUBJECT  :    Water planning and development:  Delta

           SOURCE  :     Author


           DIGEST  :    This bill provides for a comprehensive plan for  
          taking care of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta including  
          the establishment of a Delta Stewardship Council and the  
          Delta Independent Science Board.  It expands the State  
          Water Resources Control Board's collection and reporting of  
          data concerning the Delta and establishment of a Delta  
          Watermaster.  It also repeals the California Bay-Delta  
          Authority.  It also appropriates $28,000,000 from 2006 bond  
          funds for the Two-Gates Fish Protection Demonstration  
          Program, managed by the United States Bureau of  
          Reclamation.

           ANALYSIS  :    Existing law establishes more than 200 state  
          and local agencies with responsibilities and authority in  
          the Delta, including State Water Resource Control Board  
          (SWRCB), Delta Protection Commission (DPC), Department of  
          Water Resources (DWR), Department of Fish and Game (DFG),  
          and the California Bay-Delta Authority.

                                                           CONTINUED





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          This bill replaces the existing Bay Delta Authority and  
          CalFed Program with a new governance structure, designed to  
          balance the needs of the environment, water users, and  
          Delta communities.  It draws heavily on the work of the  
          Public Policy Institute of California, Delta Blue Ribbon  
          Task Force, and numerous legislative hearings.  This bill  
          establishes the Delta the twin goals of ecosystem  
          restoration and water supply reliability, creates a new  
          Delta Stewardship Council to develop and implement a Delta  
          plan, creates a new Delta Conservancy to acquire lands and  
          to facilitate ecosystem restoration, and revises the  
          composition and duties of the Delta Protection Commission.

          Specifically, the proposed agreement for Delta governance:

          1. Reconstitutes and redefine role of the Delta Protection  
             Commission (DPC), narrow membership to focus on local  
             representation, and expands DPC role in economic  
             sustainability and advising the Delta Council.

             A.    Requires DPC to create a regional economic  
                sustainability plan, including creation of a Delta  
                Investment Fund in the State Treasury.

             B.    Requires DPC to submit recommendations regarding  
                potential expansion of or change to the Delta's  
                primary zone to the Legislature. 

             C.    Requires the Delta Council to consider DPC  
                recommendations and adopt such recommendations, if  
                in the Council's discretion they are feasible and  
                consistent with the Delta Plan objectives. 

          2. Creates a new Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Conservancy  
             (Conservancy), to support efforts that advance  
             environmental protection and the economic well-being of  
             Delta residents. 

             A.    Establishes and limit the Conservancy's powers  
                and duties, to focus its efforts on collaborative  
                projects in the Delta and Suisun Marsh.

             B.     Requires the Conservancy to develop a strategic  
                plan consistent with the Delta Plan and other  







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                applicable regional plans affecting the Delta or  
                Suisun Marsh.

             C.    Establishes the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta  
                Conservancy Fund in the State Treasury. 

          3. Repeals the California Bay-Delta Authority Act.

          4. Establishes new legal framework for Delta management,  
             emphasizing the coequal goals of "providing a more  
             reliable water supply for California and protecting,  
             restoring, and enhancing the Delta ecosystem" as  
             foundation for state decisions as to Delta management.

             A.    Sets state policy and objectives for management  
                of the Delta.

             B.    Defines several important new legal terms  
                related to managing the Delta, including "co-equal  
                goals," adaptive management, ecosystem restoration,  
                new Delta governance entities, and "covered  
                actions" that are subject to appeal to the Delta  
                Council for a determination of consistency with the  
                Delta Plan. 

             C.    Preserves existing law - explicitly - relating  
                to several legal issues, including: 

                (1)                                                  
                       Statutory protection for area-of-origin. 

                (2)                                                  
                       Specified statutes establishing  
                   environmental protection regulatory processes.

                (3)                                                  
                       Water rights, including procedural and  
                   substantive protections for water right holders,  
                   such as the domestic use preference. 

                (4)                                                  
                       Scope of SWRCB authority and judicial  
                   jurisdiction to regulate water rights. 








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                (5)                                                  
                       State liability for flood protection in the  
                   Delta or its watershed.

          5. Requires the Delta Stewardship Council, DWR or DFG to  
             take certain "early actions," including certain Delta  
             ecosystem restoration projects such as "Two-Gates Fish  
             Protection Demonstration Project."

          6. Requires SWRCB to develop new flow criteria for the  
             Delta ecosystem necessary to protect public trust  
             resources, to inform planning decisions in the Delta  
             Plan and the Bay Delta Conservation Plan. 

             A.    Specifies informational process for developing  
                new flow criteria, pursuant to SWRCB regulations,  
                that includes opportunity for all interested  
                persons to participate. 

             B.    Requires order approving moving the point of  
                diversion for the State Water Project (SWP) and the  
                federal Central Valley Project (CVP) to the  
                Sacramento River to include "appropriate" Delta  
                flow criteria.

             C.    Requires SWP/CVP water contractors to pay costs  
                of flow criteria analysis.

          7. Creates Delta Stewardship Council (Council) as an  
             independent state agency. 

             A.    Establishes seven-member Council, with four  
                appointments by the Governor, two by the  
                Legislature, and the chair of the Delta Protection  
                Commission, with staggered terms.

             B.    Specifies authority of Council, including  
                appeals of state/local agency determinations of  
                consistency with Delta Plan, with specified  
                exemptions. 

          8. Creates Delta Watermaster as enforcement officer for  
             SWRCB in the Delta. 








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          9. Creates Delta Independent Science Board (Science Board)  
             and Delta Science Program. 

          10.Requires Council to develop, adopt, and commence  
             implementation of the "Delta Plan" by January 1, 2012,  
             with a report to the Legislature by March 31, 2012. 

             A.    Requires Delta Protection Commission (DPC) to  
                develop proposal to protect, enhance, and sustain  
                the unique cultural, historical, recreational,  
                agricultural, and economic values of the Delta as  
                an evolving place.

             B.    Requires Delta Plan to further the coequal goals  
                of Delta ecosystem restoration and a reliable water  
                supply. 

          11.Requires Delta Plan to promote statewide water  
             conservation, water use efficiency, and sustainable use  
             of water, as well as improvements to water  
             conveyance/storage and operation of both to achieve the  
             coequal goals. 

          12.Requires Delta Plan to attempt to reduce risks to  
             people, property, and state interests in the Delta by  
             promoting effective emergency preparedness, appropriate  
             land uses, and strategic levee investments

          13.Requires Council to consider including the Bay Delta  
             Conservation Plan (BDCP) under certain circumstances,  
             including: 

             A.    Conditions BDCP incorporation into Delta Plan  
                and state funding for BDCP public benefits on  
                compliance with the Natural Community Conservation  
                Planning (NCCP) Act and California Environmental  
                Quality Act (CEQA). 

             B.    Requires certain analyses as part of CEQA  
                compliance for BDCP.

             C.    Requires DWR to consult with Council and Science  
                Board during development of BDCP. 








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             D.    Require BDCP to include transparent, real-time  
                operational decision making process in which  
                fishery agencies ensure applicable biological  
                performance measures are achieved in a timely  
                manner.

          Existing law, the Safe Drinking Water, Water Quality and  
          Supply, Flood Control, River and Coastal Protection Bond  
          Act of 2006, an initiative bond act approved by the voters  
          at the November 7, 2006, statewide general election,  
          authorizes the issuance of bonds in the amount of  
          $5,388,000,000, of which $1,000,000,000 is made available  
          to the Department of Water Resources, upon appropriation  
          therefore, to meet the long term water needs of the state.  
          Eligible projects are required to implement integrated  
          regional water management plans and include fisheries  
          restoration and protection projects. A portion of these  
          funds may be expended directly or granted by the department  
          to address multiregional needs or issues of statewide  
          significance.

          This bill appropriates $28,000,000 of these funds to the  
          department for the department to expend, as specified, on  
          the Two-Gates Fish Protection Demonstration Program,  
          managed by the United States Bureau of Reclamation.  The  
          bill makes a statement of legislative intent to finance the  
          activities of the Delta Stewardship Council and the  
          Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Conservancy from funds made  
          available pursuant to the Disaster Preparedness and Flood  
          Prevention Bond Act of 2006 and the Safe Drinking Water,  
          Water Quality and Supply, Flood Control, River and Coastal  
          Bond Act of 2006.

          California has not had a major comprehensive water  
          management program since the State Water Plan of the  
          1960's.  Due to the drought that the State has been facing  
          over the years, legislative leaders and the Governor have  
          made the development of water planning solutions a major  
          issue of the 2009 legislative session.
               
          For several years, the Delta has suffered a crisis:   
          ecosystem, water supply, levee stability, water quality,  
          policy, program, and litigation.  In June 2004, a privately  
          owned levee failed and the State spent nearly $100 million  







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          to fix it and save an island whose property value was far  
          less.  In August 2005, the DFG reported a trend showing  
          severe decline in the Delta fishery.  In 2006, the  
          Legislature reorganized Delta programs and funding under  
          the Resources Agency Secretary.  In 2007, a federal judge,  
          acting under the federal Endangered Species Act, declared  
          illegal certain federal biological opinions about  
          near-extinct fish and restricted water exports from the  
          Delta, to the San Francisco Bay Area, the San Joaquin  
          Valley and Southern California.  The Governor shortly  
          thereafter called the Legislature into an extraordinary  
          session on water. 

          Through this enduring Delta crisis, the Legislature and the  
          Governor initiated, in 2006, a process to develop a new  
          long-term vision for the Delta. SB 1574 (Kuehl) of 2006  
          required a cabinet committee to present recommendations for  
          a Delta vision.  The Governor created a Delta Vision  
          Blue-Ribbon Task Force to advise the Cabinet Committee.   
          The Task Force produced an October 2008 Strategic Plan,  
          which the Cabinet Committee largely adopted and submitted  
          the recommendations to the Legislature on January 3, 2009.

          The Delta Vision Blue Ribbon Task Force identified seven  
          goals which they felt virtually everyone could agree on to  
          bring forward a comprehensive water plan for the state:

          1. Delta restoration must be founded on the co-equal goals  
             of water supply reliability and ecosystem restoration.

          2. Recognizes and enhances the unique cultural,  
             recreational, and agricultural values of the Delta as an  
             evolving place.

          3. Restores the Delta ecosystem as the heart of a healthy  
             estuary.

          4. Promotes statewide eater conservation, efficiency and  
             sustainable use.

          5. Builds facilities to improve the existing water  
             conveyance system and expand statewide storage.

          6. Reduces the risks to people, property and state  







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             interests in the Delta by effective emergency  
             preparedness, appropriate land uses and strategic levee  
             investments.

          7. Establishes a new governance structure with the  
             authority, responsibility, accountability, scientific  
             support and secure funding to achieve these goals.

          The Governor and Senator Dianne Feinstein in July of 2009  
          reached an agreement to propose a $9.3 water bond.

           FISCAL EFFECT  :    Appropriation:  Yes   Fiscal Com.:  Yes    
          Local:  No

           SUPPORT  :   (Unable to verify at time of writing)

          Unknown, because of the many changes in the compromise that  
          have been reached.

           OPPOSITION  :    (Unable to verify at time of writing)

          Unknown, because of the many changes in the compromise that  
          have been reached.



          DLW:do  11/2/09   Senate Floor Analyses 

                         SUPPORT/OPPOSITION:  SEE ABOVE

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