The Delta Plan is a comprehensive, long-term management plan for the Delta. Required by the 2009 Delta Reform Act, it creates new rules and recommendations to further the state’s coequal goals for the Delta: Improve statewide water supply reliability, and protect and restore a vibrant and healthy Delta ecosystem, all in a manner that preserves, protects and enhances the unique agricultural, cultural, and recreational characteristics of the Delta.
Developed through eights drafts, hundreds of hours of public meetings and thousands of public comments over two years, the Delta Plan is guided by the best available science and is founded on cooperation and coordination among federal, state and local agencies. The Delta Plan is enforceable through regulatory authority in the Delta Reform Act that requires state and local agencies to be consistent with the Delta Plan.
The Delta Plan was unanimously adopted by the Delta Stewardship Council on May 16, 2013. Subsequently its 14 regulatory policies were approved by the Office of Administrative Law and became effective with legally-enforceable regulations on September 1, 2013.
The Plan was amended on February 2016 to include refined performance measures, which were again amended in April 2018. A September 2016 amendment made permanent an exemption for single-year water transfers to be considered as covered actions. Also in April 2018, the Delta Plan was amended to revise Chapter 3 to include new text and recommendations for conveyance, storage and operations, and to revise Chapter 7 to include new text and policy for setting priorities for state investments in Delta levees.
The Coequal Goals
The Delta Stewardship Council was created in legislation to achieve the state mandated coequal goals for the Delta. "Coequal goals means the two goals of providing a more reliable water supply for California and protecting, restoring, and enhancing the Delta ecosystem. The coequal goals shall be achieved in a manner that protects and enhances the unique cultural, recreational, natural resource, and agricultural values of the Delta as an evolving place." (CA Water Code §85054)