Logue wary of water plan
WHAT: Assemblyman Dan Logue, R-Loma Rica, hosting a forum on Delta issues and how they affect the north state.
WHEN: 2 p.m. Friday.
WHERE: Chico City Council chambers, 411 Main St., Chico.
Assemblyman Dan Logue is convening a forum Friday in Chico over state proposals for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta with a potentially big impact on water supplies in Yuba-Sutter and other areas north of Sacramento.
As a part of an ongoing effort to restore the Delta, Logue said, the Delta Stewardship Council is proposing to significantly increase water flows from area reservoirs, leaving less water available for local use.
"This is huge, and no one knows about it," said Logue, R-Loma Rica.
In the fifth draft of the Delta Plan by the council, a portion on restoring the Delta's ecosystem lists two components for doing so: Improving both the "natural flow regime" and habitats for native species.
"Strong scientific consensus supports the concept that water flows more closely reflecting historical flow conditions are best for native communities of aquatic organisms," the report states.
But the report doesn't stipulate a specific percentage increase to achieve a natural flow, asking the State Water Resources Control Board to update its plan by June 2, 2014, to reflect flow amounts necessary to meet the goal.
Before that happens, Yuba County Water Agency Director Tib Belza said there needs to be more done.
"We've got a lot at stake here," said Belza, who plans to attend the forum. "Simply throwing a lot of water down the Delta without the science behind it doesn't make a lot of sense to us."
Keith Coolidge, executive manager for external affairs for the council, said asking the state board to come up with a new plan for flows was required by the 2009 state law that created the council.
He added, "We think some of the fears are just that, fears," though the proposals the board eventually comes up with will be worth local scrutiny.
Representatives of the council and the board are both scheduled to attend the hearing Friday.
Logue said he's concerned a stipulation for more water flowing through the Delta — as well as through conveyance channels being discussed to bypass the Delta and send water south — will result in less water for local agriculture, hydroelectric power and other purposes.
Yuba County Water Agency General Manager Curt Aikens said he wasn't intimately familiar with the council's plans, but said a proposal at one time for 75 percent increases in flows would also have a negative environmental effect.
"The basic problem is some of those proposals would basically undo the Yuba River Accord," Aikens said, referring to a 2009 agreement between YCWA, environmental groups and others to manage the river to meet goals for both reliability and improved salmon habitat.
"In a way, the accord is accomplishing those co-equal goals the council is looking for," he said.
CONTACT Ben van der Meer at firstname.lastname@example.org or 749-4786. Find him on Facebook at /ADbvandermeer or on Twitter at @ADbvandermeer.