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San Francisco Bay/Sacramento – San Joaquin Delta Estuary (Bay-Delta) Watershed Efforts

State Water Board Bay-Delta Program Links

The Bay-Delta Watershed includes the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers, the Delta where those rivers converge, Suisun Marsh, and the embayments upstream of the Golden Gate. The watershed of the Bay-Delta Estuary is a source of water supplies for much of the state. The water is used for municipal, industrial, agricultural, and environmental purposes. The watershed is a source of drinking water for two-thirds of the state’s population and millions of acres of productive farmland. The waterways of the Bay-Delta Estuary and its tributaries also provide critical habitat for numerous threatened and endangered species and recreationally and commercially important species, as well as other public trust values.

The State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) is responsible for developing and modifying the Bay-Delta Water Quality Control Plan which establishes water quality control measures needed to provide reasonable protection of beneficial uses of water in the Bay-Delta Watershed. The State Water Board also implements the Bay-Delta Plan through water rights and other measures and otherwise administers water rights in the Bay-Delta Watershed. Information on these activities is posted at the links below:

Comprehensive Bay-Delta Water Quality Control Planning Efforts

The State Water Board is in the process of developing and implementing updates to the Bay-Delta Plan and flow objectives for priority tributaries to the Delta to protect beneficial uses in the Bay-Delta watershed. Phase 1 of this work involves updating San Joaquin River flow and southern Delta water quality requirements included in the Bay-Delta Plan. Phase 2 involves other comprehensive changes to the Bay-Delta Plan to protect beneficial uses not addressed in Phase 1 (Delta outflows, Sacramento River inflows, Suisun Marsh salinity, Delta Cross Channel Gate closure, export limits, reverse flows). Phase 3 involves changes to water rights and other measures to implement changes to the Bay-Delta Plan from Phases 1 and 2. Phase 4 involves developing and implementing flow objectives for priority Delta tributaries outside of the Bay-Delta Plan updates. The Governor's 2015/16 budget includes additional personnel and contract resources to complete this comprehensive Bay-Delta Plan update and implement the required actions to protect this unique resource. The current timelines for Phases 1 and 2 are as follows:

Phase 1:
  • Spring 2016 - Revised Draft Substitute Environmental Document (SED) and draft proposed changes to the Bay-Delta Plan released for public comment
  • Late Summer 2016 - Final SED and proposed changes to the Bay-Delta Plan released for public review
  • Fall 2016 - State Water Board meeting to consider adoption of changes to the Bay-Delta Plan and certification of Final SED

Phase 2:
  • Spring 2016 - Draft Scientific Basis Report identifying science supporting potential changes to the Bay-Delta Plan and range of alternatives for evaluation in Draft SED released for public and peer review
  • Summer 2017 - Draft SED and draft proposed changes to the Bay-Delta Plan released for public comment
  • Early 2018 - Final SED and Proposed Changes to the Bay-Delta Plan released for public review
  • Spring 2018 - State Water Board meeting to consider adoption of changes to the Bay-Delta Plan and certification of Final SED

Additional information concerning these processes is available at the links below:

California WaterFix

The State Water Board has received a water right change petition and an application for a water quality certification pursuant to Clean Water Act section 401 for the California WaterFix Project.

State Water Board California WaterFix Activities


Drought Information

The State Water Resources Control Board has been engaged in a number of activities related to the continuing drought. Information on these activities is provided at the following links:


Bay-Delta Compliance

Information on some of the Bay-Delta compliance issues is located at the following links:


Water Quality Control Plans and Associated Water Right Decisions


Other Program Links

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