Implementing the Comprehensive Water Package
In 2009, the Legislature passed a comprehensive water package that enabled Californians to share, store and conserve water more effectively. The legislation enacted landmark improvements and investments in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta – the heart of California’s water supply system – ensuring the restoration of the Delta’s fragile ecosystem and enhancing water reliability for all Californians.
The comprehensive water package acknowledged that water in California is both a scarce and vital resource, and that significant problems with our aging water infrastructure and supply necessitated a broad, long-term, sustainable and balanced statewide solution.
This package of legislation was the most comprehensive set of water laws in the past half-century, and continues to be supported by an unprecedented coalition of environmental organizations, various water districts and agencies, business groups, workers and industry groups and local utilities.
All elements of the package were based on years of scientific studies and recommendations from the Delta Vision Blue Ribbon Commission and the Delta Vision Committee.
The Legislature held a series of joint legislative committee hearings and established a Legislative Working Group to craft and solicit public input on ideas and policies that would become the water package.
Their mission: to deliberate and work towards a comprehensive water solution that balanced the diversified regional, environmental and economic concerns of what is arguably California’s most fought-over and scarce resource.
Principles Agreed To By Legislative Working Group
The joint legislative working group developed a set of Delta governance principles that led to aspects of the comprehensive water package. They devised these governance principles based on four organizing assumptions:
- The current governance structure for the Delta is not meeting the needs of anyone.
- The state should establish two primary goals for Delta policy:
- Restoring the Delta ecosystem.
- Creating a more reliable water supply for California.
- There is a need to create a new Delta governance structure.
- The new policy and governance structure should be composed of the following elements:
- A Delta Council or Commission
- A Delta Plan
- A Delta Conservancy
- An enhanced or modified Delta Protection Commission
- A Delta financing strategy, which could include fees, revenue bonds, and/or General Obligation bonds
Committee on Natural Resources and Water
In an effort to determine efficacy of California's water poicies, the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Water has been conducting oversight and informational hearings on the 2009 Water Package, the Water Bond, and the Bay Delta Conservation Plan. The Committee members included:
- Senator Fran Pavley (Chair, D - Agoura Hills)
- Senator Doug La Malfa (Vice Chair, R - Butte)
- Senator Anthony Cannella (R - Ceres)
- Senator Noreen Evans (D - Santa Rosa)
- Senator Jean Fuller (R - Bakersfield)
- Senator Christine Kehoe (D - San Diego)
- Senator Alex Padilla (D - Pacoima)
- Senator Joe Simitian (D - Palo Alto)
- Senator Lois Wolk (D - Davis)