Event, Legislation, or Article
Delta Reform Act (SBX7 1) – In November 2009, the California Legislature enacted SBX7 1 (Delta Reform Act), one of several bills passed at this time related to water supply reliability, ecosystem health, and the Delta. The Delta Reform Act, effective on February 3, 2010, created the Delta Stewardship Council (Council) to develop, adopt, and implement a comprehensive management plan for the region known as the Delta Plan. The Council is made up of seven members who provide a broad, statewide perspective and diverse expertise. In addition, they are advised by an independent science board of 10 members who are nationally and internationally renowned scientists.
The Delta Reform Act (Water Code 85308 (b), (c), and d)) also charges the Council with setting up and tracking quantified performance measures associated with achieving the objectives of the Delta Plan.
Bay-Delta Plan Water Quality Control Plan Update – In December 2018, the State Water Resources Control Board adopted this Plan to restore water flows through the Lower San Joaquin River and its tributaries and the Stanislaus, Tuolumne, and Merced rivers.
National Heritage Area (NHA) Designation – In March 2019, the U.S. Congress designated the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta as California’s first NHA. The NHA promotes community-driven heritage conservation and economic development. NHA entities support historic preservation, natural resource conservation, recreation, tourism, and education projects.
Water Year (WY) Type Designation – The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) classifies each water year (Oct 1-Sep 30) as “wet,” “above normal,” “below normal,” “dry,” or “critical” based on the amount of precipitation that occurs within a hydrologic region. Water year 2020 was classified as a dry year.
Water Resilience Portfolio – On July 28, 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom released a final version of the Water Resilience Portfolio. The Portfolio serves as the Administration’s blueprint for equipping California to cope with more extreme droughts, floods, and rising temperatures, while addressing long-standing challenges including declining fish populations, over-reliance on groundwater, and lack of safe drinking water in many communities.
Expanding Nature Based Solutions – In October 2020, Governor Newsom called for accelerated use of nature-based solutions to deliver on California’s climate change goals through Executive Order N-82-20. This strategy identifies land management actions that help protect climate-vulnerable communities, achieve carbon neutrality, improve public health and safety, and expand economic opportunity.
California 30 x 30 – In October 2020, Governor Newsom issued Executive Order N-82-20 recognizing the importance of protecting California’s biodiversity and addressing the climate change crisis. The Executive Order includes the bold commitment to conserve 30 percent of our lands and coastal waters by 2030 (30×30).
Emergency Drought Proclamation 2021 – WY 2021 was the second consecutive dry year for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta watershed. On May 10, 2021, Governor Newsom declared an emergency drought proclamation for 41 counties, including the Delta watershed. The proclamation outlined various actions that the State Water Resources Control Board and other agencies should take or consider, including curtailments to prohibit diversions when water is not available at a water right holder’s or claimant’s priority of right.
Drought Salinity Barrier Projects – A Drought Salinity Barrier is a rock structure that aims to reduce saltwater migration to the central and south Delta. In response to ongoing drought conditions, a 2021 barrier was constructed across the West False River in the western Delta. A barrier was previously constructed at the same location during the 2015 drought.