The San Diego County Water Authority board of directors passed a resolution Thursday supporting legislation critical to implementing the proposed Quantification Settlement Agreement (QSA). The resolution supports legislative appropriation of $200 million in Proposition 50 funds for the QSA and supports legislative relief from California’s Fully Protected Species statutes.
“We are moving closer to finalizing the QSA and a new era of peace on the river,” said Maureen Stapleton, Water Authority general manager. “A successful conclusion is now, to a great degree, in the hands of our California legislators. Through this resolution, the Water Authority board is urging quick and decisive legislative action.”
Both actions are requirements of a revised QSA reached on March 12, 2003, by California’s Colorado River agencies and representatives from Governor Gray Davis’ administration. The revised QSA accomplishes the original QSA objectives required to restore surplus Colorado River water to California from the Interim Surplus Guidelines allowing for a 15-year gradual reduction to its 4.4 million acre-feet apportionment of water. It also allows the implementation of the water transfer between the Imperial Irrigation District and the Water Authority to proceed.
The resolution also urges Water Authority member agencies, and cities and community groups within the county to adopt similar resolutions and to write letters to the California Legislature in support of these actions.
The $200 million in Proposition 50 funds would be allocated to the Water Authority and Metropolitan Water District of Southern California to be used for eligible water supply projects. In return, the Water Authority and MWD would set aside $200 million of local funds in a joint-powers-authority-controlled, interest-bearing account for environmental costs related to implementing the QSA.
The revised 2003 QSA also requires authorization, in full compliance with the California Endangered Species Act, for the limited take of some species listed among California’s fully protected species. This requirement could be resolved through legislation similar to, or restoration of SB 482 (Kuehl, D-Los Angeles), which was enacted into law in 2002 but did not take effect because the QSA was not executed by the end of last year.
The QSA provides statewide benefits by obtaining additional Colorado River water for urban Southern California, which relieves pressure on alternative Northern California Bay-Delta water resources and the State Water Project. Benefits would be both near-term, by reinstating Interim Surplus Guidelines’ 15-year “soft landing,” and long-term, through resolving longstanding disputes regarding Colorado River water use among the California agencies. The other six Colorado River Basin states have pressured California to implement the QSA to allow the state to meet its needs within its annual 4.4 million acre-feet apportionment of water.
The San Diego County Water Authority is a public agency serving the San Diego region as a wholesale supplier of water from the Colorado River and Northern California. The Water Authority works through its 23 member agencies to provide a safe, reliable water supply to support San Diego County’s $126 billion regional economy and almost three million county residents.
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RESOLUTION OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF THE SAN DIEGO COUNTY WATER AUTHORITY SUPPORTING THE APPROPRIATION OF $200 MILLION IN PROPOSITION 50 FUNDING, CONSISTENT WITH THE QUANTIFICATION SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT (QSA), AND SUPPORTING LEGISLATION PROVIDING RELIEF FROM THE CALIFORNIA FULLY PROTECTED SPECIES ACT FOR THE QSA AND URGING ALL MEMBER AGENCIES, CITIES, AND COMMUNITY ORGANIZATIONS TO ADOPT THE SAME AND SEND LETTERS OF SUPPORT TO THE CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE.
WHEREAS, California’s Colorado River water agencies (Coachella Valley Water District, Imperial Irrigation District, Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, and San Diego County Water Authority) and the State of California reached agreement March 12, 2003, on a revised Quantification Settlement Agreement (QSA); and
WHEREAS, the QSA provides for restoration of the Interim Surplus Guidelines and implementation of the Imperial Irrigation District / San Diego County Water Authority water transfer, and is required to restore a long-term, reliable supply of water from the Colorado River to California and the San Diego region; and
WHEREAS, a reliable supply of water from the Colorado River is vital to ensure current and future economic prosperity in San Diego County and the state of California; and
WHEREAS, Colorado River water supplies provided under the QSA will provide further statewide benefits by relieving pressure on alternative imported water supplies, including those from the Bay-Delta region and the State Water Project; and
WHEREAS, the QSA will resolve longstanding disputes regarding Colorado River water use among California’s Colorado River contractors, resulting in greater certainty of water supply for each contractor, the region, and the state; and
WHEREAS, execution of the revised 2003 QSA is conditioned upon the California Legislature authorizing and appropriating $200 million in Proposition 50 funds; and
WHEREAS, Proposition 50 contains funds that may be used for this purpose; and
WHEREAS, execution of the revised 2003 QSA is also contingent upon relief from the California fully protected species statutes; and
WHEREAS, legislation is required to obtain relief from the fully protected species statutes, similar to SB 482, which was enacted into law in 2002 but suspended after the QSA was not executed by the end of the year; and
WHEREAS, it is urgent that the member agencies of the San Diego County Water Authority, as well as the cities and community organizations located within San Diego County, express support for the execution of the revised 2003 QSA, and for the actions required to execute the QSA, including the appropriation of $200 million in Proposition 50 funds and relief from the California fully protected species statutes.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, by the Board of Directors of the San Diego County Water Authority as follows:
That the above recitals are true and correct.
- The Board of Directors supports the appropriation of $200 million in Proposition 50 funding, consistent with the revised 2003 Quantification Settlement Agreement (QSA).
- The Board of Directors supports the enactment of legislation providing relief from the California fully protected species statutes for the QSA.
- The Board of Directors urges the member agencies of the San Diego County Water Authority, as well as cities and community organizations located within San Diego County, to express support for the QSA by adopting similar resolutions of support and writing letters of support to members of the California Legislature.
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