8/19/18 Statement: Interior Secretary Calls for Central Valley Project Action Plan Within 15 Days

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke on Friday directed federal agencies to develop a plan of action that will improve operations and water deliveries by the federal Central Valley Project (CVP).

San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority Interim Executive Director Frances Mizuno said, “We are extremely pleased with the Secretary’s order and look forward to providing any assistance necessary to help carry out his objectives.”

Zinke ordered that a plan be delivered to the Office of the Deputy Secretary within 15 days by the Assistant Secretary-Water and Sciences, the Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks, and the Solicitor. The plan is to contain options that maximize water deliveries, incorporate the best science into decision-making processes, moving forward with the construction of new storage, and meeting any legal procedural requirements, among other requests.

Calling the CVP “a major water source for farms, families, industry, and fish and wildlife in California,” Zinke’s order is intended to reverse the long-term degradation of the project and the resulting harm that has been caused to productive farmland as well as threatened and endangered fish that federal protections were intended to help, but have not.

In addition to the 15 days given to develop an action plan, the Secretary has ordered that the Office of the Deputy Secretary make final recommendations for action to his office be within 10 days of receiving the report.

“This gives CVP water users hope that there will be a more balanced approach to water supply adequacy and reliability that is sorely needed on our farms and in our rural communities, in the Santa Clara Valley high tech industry, and on wildlife refuges,” said Mizuno.