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Delta Plan Making Good Progress?

AUBURN -- The Placer County Water Agency this week acknowledged that its voice and concerns have been addressed by the Delta Stewardship Council in development of a new management plan for the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.

 The water agency has been actively involved in the Delta planning process as planners have looked to upstream areas for more water to flow into and cleanse the overused Delta.  Local officials have focused on the protection of Placer County's existing water supplies.

 "PCWA would like to express its appreciation for the opportunity to participate in the development of the Delta Plan," PCWA General Manager David A. Breninger wrote in a Jan. 14 letter to Delta Stewardship Council Chairman Phil Isenberg.  "The agency's consistent and constant message," he wrote, "has been that the council's authority is limited to actions taking place in the legal Delta and that upstream areas, such as Placer County, cannot physically reduce their reliance on water in the Delta watershed to less than 100 percent." 

Breninger said the agency remains disappointed that the plan calls for a reduction of water use in the Delta watershed but appreciates language and examples that describe upstream reductions as those related to increased water use efficiency and development of regional water management plans.

 The letter also notes that the new Delta Plan provides clarity on the authority and jurisdiction of the Delta Stewardship Council, as it relates to upstream watershed areas.

"The process of developing the Delta Plan has been arduous and contentious; however, it is proof that respectful attention to concerns expressed by those involved and affected can result in a thoughtful and balanced perspective.  "Many challenges face Californians in implementing the plan," the letter concludes, "but if the spirit of civility and diligent inquiry that characterized the Delta Plan process can be sustained, the agency is optimistic that California may make progress in healing the Delta."

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