Another View: City beginning review of latest Bay Delta Conservation Plan draft

By: Mayor Susan Rohan, special to the Press Tribune
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On Dec. 9, the state of California released its latest draft of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan and related draft environmental documents. The 9,000-page BDCP and related 25,000-page environmental impact report are the next step in a long process to find ways to solve decades-long water supply and water quality issues that have plagued the Sacramento-San Joaquin Bay Delta and water exporters in Southern California. The last draft of the BDCP, which was publicly released last spring and summer, created a significant amount of concern for Roseville and others in our region.

Most specifically, the last draft projected that Folsom Reservoir could go to “dead pool” as often as once a decade. “Dead pool” is a scenario where the water level in Folsom Reservoir drops below the level of the pipes that draw water to Roseville’s water treatment plant. This scenario would be devastating to our community and its vibrant economy. Our community, and in fact, our entire state, deserves a plan that presents a range of viable options to address both the natural and manmade circumstances that could cause this scenario. One part of the state cannot be sacrificed for the prosperity of another.

Although,the important effort to deal with these delta-related issues is no easy undertaking, it is clear to this community the BDCP, in both form and in operation, must not set up conditions that put Folsom Reservoir, Roseville’s main water supply, in jeopardy. We need unequivocal and binding assurances that Roseville’s water supply will not be compromised because of the BDCP and its proposed twin tunnels. We also need the state to work with local stakeholders like Roseville to focus on solutions that provide long-term resiliency of our Folsom Reservoir water supply.

One of the commitments I have made as mayor is to try to help communicate this important and complex issue in a way most people can understand. It’s no easy task, but with so much at stake, we need our community to come together and make its voice heard using accurate and relevant facts to make the case.

Roseville staff is working hard to digest the combined 34,000 pages that make up the BDCP package, and it will likely take until February or March for a clear set of concerns to come out of the technical review as we work with other cities and water districts to review the BDCP’s modeling assumptions, biological and fisheries assumptions and undertake a full technical and legal review of the document. We will keep you informed of the results of this analysis, particularly about what concerns still persist and what new threats have emerged in this latest draft of the BDCP. April 14, 2014, is the deadline for the public and other stakeholders to provide their written comments.

So, as a citizen of Roseville, what’s next? Many concerned citizens have personally expressed to me their desire to share their concerns about the BDCP and the proposed twin tunnels with key decision makers in Sacramento.

As mayor, I am committed to ensuring our community has the information and tools to articulate its concerns about the BDCP, which is why is the right place to learn about the issue and how you can stay involved. When the time is right, which is soon, I will be asking those who share Roseville’s concerns about the BDCP to work with me, our city staff and partners in the region to make our voices heard. Your involvement is a critical part of our ability to protect the reliability of Roseville’s water supply from Folsom Reservoir.