Archive for the ‘Water’ Category

WETA includes Antioch ferry stop in 2050 Vision

Friday, May 10th, 2024
Source: WETA

“A Vision for Water-Based Transportation and Emergency Response on the San Francisco Bay”

By Allen D. Payton

The Bay Area’s Water Emergency Transportation Authority (WETA) board adopted the 2050 Service Vision and Expansion Policy during its meeting on Thursday, May 9 and the plan includes a future, possible station for Antioch, as well as one each in Pittsburg, Martinez and Hercules. Also included is an additional route for the existing terminal in Richmond, which currently offers WETA’s only ferry service in Contra Costa County.

The plan includes two tiers, with the four additional Contra Costa terminals in Tier 2 which will be added based on demand and current, technological barriers to service. The Vision includes one route between the San Francisco Ferry Building to the Hercules terminal and a separate route to and from the Antioch, Pittsburg and Martinez terminals.

The Vision explains that first, “WETA will enhance existing route frequency to continue growing markets for all-day service.” Then, “WETA will expand by implementing the Tier 1 projects from the map including regional priority projects such as those included in regional plans – including Mission Bay and Treasure Island to the San Francisco Ferry Building, Berkeley to San Francisco, and Oakland to Redwood City.”

That will be followed by WETA exploring “development of Tier 2 projects from the map to further expand the reach of the ferry system as market demand matures and technologies evolve to overcome current barriers to operating service.”

In the plan, “WETA will provide at minimum three types of service on the ferry network: Local service consisting of short distance trips connecting dense urban hubs; Regional service consisting of medium and long-distance trips connecting activity centers; and Special Event service to major venues with existing terminals.”

In addition, “WETA will electrify the ferry system to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

According to their website, “Water transit is a vital part of life in the San Francisco Bay Area. WETA has been developing a shared vision of the San Francisco Bay Area ferry system in 2050, including the level of service and extent of WETA ferry operations and emergency response.

This ‘Service Vision’ informs how WETA operates in the future and what changes will need to be made to get there. The vision will serve as the foundation of WETA’s Business Plan, which will present the specific strategies and actions required to achieve the 2050 Service Vision. Strategies and goals are divided across six Focus Areas.

This service visioning effort is a unique opportunity to re-imagine water transit and address emerging priorities concerning the environment, equity, economic development, emergency response and quality of life throughout the Bay Area.”

According to the staff report for the agenda item #11, the plan was “developed to define a long-term service vision based on input from agency stakeholders, the public, and other parties with an interest in the future of the agency. The goal of this project is to create clear direction for the agency and its staff concerning future expansion efforts, prioritize the use of limited funds, identify resource needs, and help build a broad coalition to advocate for future investment in the regional ferry network. The WETA Board received a presentation on a draft Policy at its last meeting in April 2024. Following that meeting, staff incorporated comments from Directors into the final 2050 Service Vision and Expansion Policy—including more detailed information about emergency response and first/last mile connections.

During an initial stakeholder and public outreach effort in 2021, staff identified six focus areas

for consideration in the Business Plan. These include:

1. Regional Ferry Network

2. Emergency Response

3. Environmental Stewardship

4. Community Connections

5. Organizational Capacity

6. Financial Capacity

At Business Plan Workshop #1 held in August 2022, the Board identified a set of network expansion concepts for consideration in defining a 2050 Service Vision. Staff undertook a technical evaluation of these concepts and conducted broad stakeholder and public engagement to create a proposal to develop a draft 2050 Service Vision that was presented to the Board during Workshop #2 in April 2023.

Upon receiving direction from the Board to look more broadly at opportunities to expand the ferry network, staff worked with its consultant team to incorporate this feedback into an updated draft 2050 Service Vision and set of feasibility criteria for future expansion projects.

The draft service vision and feasibility criteria were refined upon review with key project stakeholders, the Community and Business Advisory Groups, and the WETA Business Plan Subcommittee. A consistent source of feedback during the outreach process was support for a WETA pilot program to test the feasibility of new technologies and emerging markets. The product of this process is the final 2050 Service Vision and Expansion Policy.”

The Vision also includes Terminal Rehabilitation & Replacement, improvements to Terminal Access, encouraging Transit-Supportive Land Uses in close proximity to eachcandidate ferry terminal, and Emergency Response. “WETA serves as the coordinator of water-based emergency response activities in the Bay Area in the event of a major disaster or disruptive event. In this capacity, WETA will work closely with the California Office of Emergency Services and/or the United States Coast Guard and will be directed to perform activities coordinated on a regional and state-wide basis. These include deploying WETA’s fleet resources to evacuate dangerous areas, to move first responders, and to deliver needed supplies. WETA will coordinate with other regional maritime partners to add to this fleet response, and terminal facilities must have sufficient capacity and facilities to accommodate these partner vessels. All new expansion terminals must be designed and built to Essential Facilities Standards. Emergency service to individual terminals will be guided based on state and regional direction.”

In addition to Thursday’s meeting, WETA held a public Board of Directors workshop on the 2050 Service Vision in April. The service vision evaluation memo and presentation slides are available, here:

Here’s the public survey summary report, first published in May 2023.

To learn more about the project, visit Bay Ferry 2050 microsite where you can subscribe to updates, share your feedback and more.

Delta Conveyance (tunnel) Project issues Final Environmental Impact Report

Friday, December 8th, 2023
Source: CA DWP

Haga clic aquí para ver este aviso en español
按一下這裡檢視此通知的中文版本。 

To public agencies prior to certification per CEQA requirements

By California Department of Water Resources

The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) is today releasing the Final Environmental Impact Report to public agencies that commented on the Draft EIR, per the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).* Proposed responses to comments, as well as the Final EIR and accompanying informational resources, can be accessed at www.deltaconveyanceproject.com. This action signifies the last step DWR is required to take under CEQA prior to deciding whether to certify the EIR and approve the proposed project.

The Final EIR was prepared by DWR as the lead agency to comply with the requirements of CEQA. The Final EIR is presented in two volumes: 1) the contents of the entire Draft EIR, as revised, and 2) all comments received on the Draft EIR and responses to substantive comments. 

At the conclusion of the CEQA process, DWR will determine if the Final EIR has been completed in compliance with CEQA and whether to certify that the Final EIR reflects DWR’s independent judgment and analysis. Following certification of the Final EIR, DWR would then determine whether to approve the proposed project, an alternative or no project. Learn more about the CEQA process here.

The proposed project identified in the Final EIR would modernize the state’s water infrastructure in the Delta to help protect the reliability of this important water supply for 27 million Californians and 750,000 acres of farmland from earthquakes and climate-driven weather extremes. 

Accessing the Final EIR

The Final EIR is available online at www.deltaconveyanceproject.com/planning-processes/california-environmental-quality-act/final-eir/final-eir-document.

Informational Materials and Resources

Project Planning Next Steps

  • Community Benefits Program: Should DWR certify the Final EIR and approve the proposed project, DWR plans to release the Community Benefits Program Implementation Plan and Guidelines Discussion Document next year for review. There will be associated public engagement opportunities announced when that document is released. 
  • Additional Permitting: DWR continues to pursue additional required federal and state planning processes, including but not limited to federal and state Endangered Species Act compliance, adding points of diversion to existing water rights and Delta Plan consistency. Information and updates related to these processes can be found on the project’s permit portal website
    *DWR is releasing the Final EIR to public agencies prior to certification per CEQA requirements. While CEQA does not require—and DWR is not providing—a public comment period on a Final EIR, it does require DWR to send its proposed responses at least 10 days prior to a decision on certification of the EIR.

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Los Vaqueros Reservoir Expansion Project receives $10 million from Bureau of Reclamation

Thursday, July 27th, 2023
Los Vaqueros Reservoir and Dam. Source: LVREP

Funding to benefit regional water supply improvements and protection of critical bird populations

Expansion will increase capacity by 115,000 acre-feet, cost about $1.25 billion

The Los Vaqueros Reservoir Expansion Project Joint Powers Authority today (July 27, 2023) was notified that it will receive $10 million in federal funding from the U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation. The funding will be used to further the project’s goals of improving Bay Area and Central Valley water supply and supporting wildlife refuges along the Pacific Flyway, a vital migratory route for critical bird populations.

According to the National Audubon Society, each year at least one billion birds migrate along the flyway, which is only a fraction of those that used it a century ago. Wildlife refuges along the Pacific Flyway provide protection against habitat loss, water shortages, diminishing food sources and climate change.

Additionally, the expansion will increase the Los Vaqueros Reservoir capacity from 160,000 acre-feet to 275,000 acre-feet and add new and modified conveyance facilities to provide environmental, water supply reliability, operational flexibility, water quality and recreational benefits.

The dam will be increased by 55 feet from its current height of 226 feet to 281 feet from toe to crest.

“We are grateful to Reclamation for acknowledging the importance of the Los Vaqueros Reservoir Expansion Project and the role it will play in providing water supply reliability for 11 million customers and protection of critical bird populations from the Bay Area to the Central Valley,” said Board Chair Angela Ramirez Holmes. “Our partnership with Reclamation is invaluable and will help ensure quality of life now and for future generations.”

The $10 million allocation today is authorized under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, approved by Congress in November 2021, and is in addition to a previously awarded $164 million from all federal sources for the reservoir expansion project. The project was previously authorized for federal funding under the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act of 2016.

Source: LVREP

According to the project Fact Sheet, the total development and construction cost of the expansion is budgeted at approximately $980 million in 2022 dollars and $1.25 billion in escalated costs through the end of construction. Construction is expected to last from 2023 through 2030.

“We appreciate the ongoing federal support of this project that is vital to millions of Californians and key wildlife refuges,” said Los Vaqueros Reservoir Joint Powers Authority Executive Director Taryn Ravazzini. “The allocation of these funds marks another milestone and allows the LVR JPA and its members to continue our progress toward regional resilience.”

Source: LVREP

About the LVRJPA

The Los Vaqueros Reservoir Joint Powers Authority (JPA) was formed in 2021 and provides governance and administration for the Phase 2 Los Vaqueros Reservoir Expansion Project (Project).  The Los Vaqueros Reservoir is an off-stream reservoir owned and operated by the Contra Costa Water District.

The Project will increase Bay Area and Central Valley water supply reliability, develop water supplies for wildlife refuges, and improve water quality while protecting Delta fisheries and providing additional Delta ecosystem benefits. When completed, it will increase the Los Vaqueros Reservoir capacity from 160,000 acre-feet to 275,000 acre-feet and add new and modified conveyance facilities to provide environmental, water supply reliability, operational flexibility, water quality, and recreational benefits.

Allen D. Payton contributed to this report.

In response to DEIR Restore the Delta claims water tunnel “will not save the Delta”

Friday, December 16th, 2022

Source: Restore the Delta

“The Tunnel Project will not save the Delta, and it probably will not save the State Water Project’s and Central Valley Project’s reliance on Delta exports either.” – letter from Restore the Delta on DEIR

The proposed Delta Conveyance Project (Delta Tunnel) would construct new water intake facilities on the Sacramento River in the north Delta to fill a single tunnel with diverted freshwater flows. That water would be shipped to large farming operations and water wholesalers south of the Delta. The Delta Conveyance project would divert up to 6,000 cubic feet of water per second. The project is estimated to cost between $16-40 billion and won’t be completed until at least 2040.

After the Draft Environmental Impact Report for the Delta Conveyance Project was released in July, the comment period was extended to today, Friday, December 16, 2022. The Draft EIR was prepared by the state Department of Water Resources (DWR) as the lead agency to comply with the requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act by evaluating a range of alternatives to the proposed project and disclosing potential environmental effects of the proposed project and alternatives, and associated mitigation measures for potentially significant impacts.

No decisions will be made on whether to approve the project until the conclusion of the environmental review process, after consideration of public comments submitted on the Draft EIR and issuances of a Final EIR. At that time, DWR will determine whether to approve the proposed project an alternative or no project.

On Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2022, Restore the Delta submitted detailed comments on the DEIR to the DWR.

“The California Department of Water Resources should be embarrassed by the lack of climate change planning in the DEIR for the proposed Delta Tunnel. The DEIR was out of date for climate change science when it was released in July 2022,” said Tim Stroshane, Policy Analyst, Restore the Delta. “If completed in 2040 it will be obsolete, then. Meanwhile, California will have spent big money on a project the state will be unable to use as Delta water levels rise. Instead, we should invest in the resilience of Delta environmental justice communities and the rest of the state for flood and water supplies, reducing the big projects’ reliance on the Delta for future water needs, using water use efficiency and water recycling, and increasing local and regional water supply self-sufficiency to ward off drought and megafloods.”

“DWR has learned nothing since California WaterFix. Their sales pitch, that the tunnel is a climate project, is built on incomplete data and faulty analysis,” said Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Executive Director of Restore the Delta. “They have continued their pattern of erasing how the project will impact Delta urban environmental justice communities. And they are minimizing how construction will ruin small Delta farming towns, and the natural resources essential to the cultural and spiritual practices of historic Delta tribes. The tunnel is a failed idea that nobody supports, except for the Department of Water Resources.”

Read the comment letter and attachments by Restore the Delta.

Highlights from the Comments

Environmental impact of Tunnel:

“Reviewing the Executive Summary, we count 17 significant and unavoidable impacts of the proposed Tunnel project on the environment. Among these impacts will be loss of prime agricultural farmland, loss of local non-tribal cultural resources, transportation and air quality impacts, and painful loss of tribal cultural resources. There are other impacts omitted, belittled, or greenwashed by the Tunnel DEIR.”

Flow and salinity impacts when Tunnel in operation:

“The Tunnel Project has region-scale impacts on the Delta, should it be built. The Tunnel DEIRacknowledges that a major operational impact will be, reducing Sacramento River flows (and hence flows to its distributaries in north and central Delta channels) and reducing the estuary’s ability to repel tidal salt waters which are ever-present (see Attachment 9 to this letter). Such operational impacts will have economic and ecological impact on the Delta region, and a Community Benefits Program must be developed to mitigate the economic and ecological effects of Tunnel operations on Delta communities, especially environmental justice communities.”

Failure to consider alternatives:

“DWR in particular is hide-bound in its loyalty to a Delta conveyance approach eclipsed by the emerging and growing effects of extreme heat and extreme storms.

“A huge failure of imagination by DWR is on display in this DEIR. Each of these alternatives is vulnerable to the slings and arrows of expected climate change effects, which we will go into further below when commenting on project modeling methods and results. But what we see displayed in the Tunnel DEIR is a complete failure of state water officials to imagine alternative approaches these last few years since the demise of California WaterFix in early 2019.”

Faulty consideration of Delta Environmental Justice impacts:

“We are deeply disappointed that DWR resorted to ignoring its ‘Your Delta, Your Voice’ Survey as a basis for informing how and what kind of environmental, environmental justice, and community impacts the Delta Tunnel Project would impose on the Delta EJ community both of the direct Legal Delta and of the Delta Region as a whole. It is plainly obvious that 1) the Legal Delta as well as the Delta Region are bona fide environmental justice communities, with relatively small proportions of white and wealthy populations; 2) Delta residents AND Delta region community members rely substantially on the Delta directly, and the north Delta in particular, for subsistence fishing, and it is thus an environmental impact to have both fishing spots taken away from anglers and fish removed from the vicinity for North Delta Intakes construction activities; and 3) in the operational phase, lost flows in the Delta will increase salinity in the Delta as it reduces flows in north and central Delta channels, and thereby contributing to the spread of harmful algal blooms which will disproportionately injure Delta people who rely on fishing and broad outdoor activities to enjoy the Delta. In sum, the Delta Tunnel Project will harm such beneficial users of water as fish, outdoor water-contact recreation, and environmental justice communities.”

About Restore the Delta
Restore the Delta (RTD) is a grassroots campaign of residents and organizations committed to restoring the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta so that fisheries, communities, and family farming can thrive there together again; so that water quality is protected for all communities, particularly environmental justice communities; and so that Delta environmental justice communities are protected from flood and drought impacts resulting from climate change while gaining improved public access to clean waterways. Ultimately our goal is to connect communities to our area rivers and to empower communities to become the guardians of the estuary through participation in government planning and waterway monitoring. RTD advocates for local Delta stakeholders to ensure that they have a direct impact on water management decisions affecting the well-being of their communities, and water sustainability policies for all Californians.

Allen D. Payton contributed to this report.

Floating house on Antioch waterfront torn down Wednesday

Thursday, December 15th, 2022

Photo by Antioch resident who chose to remain anonymous. Published with permission.

“This is Rivertown not shantytown!”; $220K cost to City for removal

By Allen D. Payton

After five years, the floating shanty on the river along Antioch’s waterfront is finally gone as of Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2022.

The house on floats was moved from one of the Delta islands and placed there in 2017 by property owner Tom Trost. He wanted to send a message to the city council that his property between E. 6th and A Streets at the entrance to historic, downtown Rivertown, reached the end of the piers under the water. Trost was hoping to pressure them into including that portion of his land in the city’s Downtown Specific Plan, which the council updated in February 2018. (See related article)

Since then, the floating house has become more and more of an eyesore attracting homeless individuals and was even the subject of a painting entered as an item for guests to bid on during the silent auction of the Antioch Chamber of Commerce’s annual gala, one year. (Seriously. That really happened. No joke!)

This writer repeatedly told Trost, “this is Rivertown, not shantytown!” and asked him to remove the eyesore. But Trost, whose family owns a house moving company, said he didn’t have the money.

Then state law changed thanks to the help of former Assemblyman Jim Frazier, according to Antioch Community Development Director Forrest Ebbs. He has been working on the effort for the last six months and said, because of changes in the law the State Lands Commission can now seize derelict vessels. Since the house was on floats it was considered a vessel.

“The commission seized the house and transferred it to the city which is paying $220,000 to the specialized contractor to remove the house,” he said.

“It was sinking,” Ebbs explained further, “and was a potential hazard because of diesel fuel cans on the backside of the house. If the house had sunk that would have created a disaster.”

Plus, “it would have required a more specialized contractor and the cost could have tripled,” he added.“We were able to work it out with Trost who agreed to have it removed,” Ebbs continued.

Asked if the costs will be assessed to Trost’s property, the Community Development Director said, “No. Probably not.”

Regarding Trost’s efforts to ensure his property includes the portion under the water, Ebbs said, “The legality of that property is a complicated issue we need to dive into (no pun intended). It may be included if it’s contiguous. But control of parcels under the water involves many agencies and is on a case-by-case basis as there are a lot of issues. The City doesn’t have an opinion on it at this point.”

“If there’s a grand plan for Tom’s property that included the land under the water we could consider it, then,” he added.

Governor Newsom announces Water Supply Strategy for a hotter, drier California in Antioch on Thursday

Thursday, August 11th, 2022

With local and state officials joining him, Gov. Newsom speaks during a press conference at the site of the Antioch Brackish Water Desalination project to announce his Water Supply Strategy on Thursday, August 11, 2022. Photos by Allen D. Payton

Outlines actions needed now to invest in new sources, transform water management

Without action, state officials believe California’s water supply could diminish by up to 10% by 2040

Introduces former L.A. Mayor Villaraigosa as state’s new infrastructure czar

Antonio Villaraigosa was introduced by the governor as the state’s new infrastructure czar.

ANTIOCH – Hotter and drier weather conditions could reduce California’s water supply by up to 10% by the year 2040. To replace and replenish what we will lose to thirstier soils, vegetation, and the atmosphere, Governor Gavin Newsom on Thursday announced in California’s latest actions to increase water supply and adapt to more extreme weather patterns caused by climate change. Click here to read California’s Water Supply Strategy.

Thursday’s announcement at Antioch’s $110 million Brackish Desalination project follows $8 billion in state investments over the last two years to help store, recycle, de-salt and conserve the water it will need, generating enough water in the future for more than 8.4 million households by 2040.

The actions, outlined in a strategy document published by the Administration called “California’s Water Supply Strategy, Adapting to a Hotter, Drier Future” calls for investing in new sources of water supply, accelerating projects and modernizing how the state manages water through new technology.

This approach to California’s water supply management recognizes the latest science that indicates the American West is experiencing extreme, sustained drought conditions caused by hotter, drier weather. It means that a greater share of the rain and snowfall California receives will be absorbed by dry soils, consumed by thirsty plants, and evaporated into the air. This leaves less water to meet the state’s needs.

“The best science tells us that we need to act now to adapt to California’s water future. Extreme weather is a permanent fixture here in the American West and California will adapt to this new reality,” Governor Newsom said. “California is launching an aggressive plan to rebuild the way we source, store and deliver water so our kids and grandkids can continue to call California home in this hotter, drier climate.”

To help make up for the water supplies California could lose over the next two decades, the strategy prioritizes actions to capture, recycle, de-salt and conserve more water. These actions include:

  • Creating storage space for up to 4 million acre-feet of water, which will allow us to capitalize on big storms when they do occur and store water for dry periods
  • Recycling and reusing at least 800,000 acre-feet of water per year by 2030, enabling better and safer use of wastewater currently discharged to the ocean.
  • Freeing up 500,000 acre-feet of water through more efficient water use and conservation, helping make up for water lost due to climate change.
  • Making new water available for use by capturing stormwater and desalinating ocean water and salty water in groundwater basins, diversifying supplies and making the most of high flows during storm events.

These actions are identified broadly in the Newsom Administration’s Water Resilience Portfolio – the state’s master plan for water released in 2020 – but they will be expedited given the urgency of climate-driven changes. To advance the infrastructure and policies needed to adapt, the strategy enlists the help of the Legislature to streamline processes so projects can be planned, permitted and built more quickly, while protecting the environment.

Over the last three years, at the urging of the Governor, state leaders have earmarked more than $8 billion to modernize water infrastructure and management. The historic three-year, $5.2 billion investment in California water systems enacted in 2021-22 has enabled emergency drought response, improved water conservation to stretch water supplies, and enabled scores of local drought resilience projects. The 2022-23 budget includes an additional $2.8 billion for drought relief to hard-hit communities, water conservation, environmental protection for fish and wildlife and long-term drought resilience projects.

Newsom also introduced former Los Angeles Mayor and Speaker of the Assembly Antonio Villaraigosa as the state’s new infrastructure czar.

“With this influx of federal dollars, we have an incredible opportunity to rebuild California while creating quality jobs, modernizing crucial infrastructure and accelerating our clean transportation progress, benefiting communities up and down the state,” Newsom said. “Antonio has the extensive experience and relationships to deliver on this promise and bring together the many partners who will be key to our success. I look forward to his collaboration with the administration as we build up communities across California.”

Antioch’s $110 million Brackish Water Desalination plant project is currently under construction.

Construction on Antioch’s desalination plant, located behind the city’s water treatment plant at 401 Putnam Street is expected to be completed next year, city Public Works Director John Samuelson shared following the governor’s press conference.

Contra Costa Supervisors put Health Services Chief on hot seat over 13 COVID rule violating restaurants

Wednesday, December 8th, 2021

“The time has come to shut down those establishments that don’t obey the code.” – District 4 Supervisor Karen Mitchoff

“There are no Omicron variant cases yet in our county.” – CC Health Services Director Anna Roth

Approve East County Groundwater Plan; approve $95.5 million for new West County Reentry Treatment & Housing Facility

By Daniel Borsuk

A defensive Contra Costa Health Services Director Anna Roth faced criticism from county Supervisors, especially emanating from District 4 Supervisor Karen Mitchoff on why 13 restaurants remain open in defiance of county COVID-19 health orders. As of Sept. 22, by order of the county’s Health Officer Dr. Chris Farnitano, restaurants, gyms, movie theaters and other entertainment venues must require patrons show proof of vaccination or a recent negative COVID test in order to enter. (See related article)

“There is no change in enforcement,” Roth said at Tuesday’s supervisors meeting. As of November, 99 percent of restaurants in the county are compliant. We have 13 outstanding cases.”

But Roth’s statement did not satisfy Mitchoff, the supervisor who initially unveiled the code enforcement issue with the county health services.

“The time has come to shut down those establishments that don’t obey the code,” Mitchoff said. “We have done the education. We’ve done the warning.”

None of the owners of the 13 restaurants spoke at Tuesday’s supervisors meeting. Lumpy’s Diner in Antioch, and MJ’s Downtown Café are among eating establishments that the county has tagged as out of compliance of COVID-19 health code.

One of the 13 restaurants on the county’s red tag list, the In-n-Out in Pleasant Hill has been closed for indoor dining health code violations.

District 5 Supervisor Federal Glover of Pittsburg came to the defense of Roth and her department’s code enforcement division commenting, “I think you’re doing an outstanding job out there. The volume of people out there who are out of compliance is small. I enjoy eating inside a restaurant. I understand the stress,”

In the meantime, Roth reported that while 75.6 percent of Contra Costa County residents are fully vaccinated, twenty-seven persons are hospitalized in county hospitals with COVID-19 symptoms One patient dies daily on average from COVID-19 symptoms, she noted.

“There are no Omicron variant cases yet in our county,” said Roth.

In an interview for a KRON4 news report, County Health Officer Dr. Chris Farnitano said, “We don’t just jump right in there with a fine at the get go. We give the businesses the opportunity. Because our goal is to get to compliance for people to follow the order. Our goal isn’t to issue a bunch of fines.” The report also shared that Farnitano said only four restaurants in the county have been fined.

East County Groundwater Sustainability Plan Approved

Supervisors also approved the East Contra Costa Subbasin Groundwater Sustainability Plan on a 5-0 vote. The $1.4 million groundwater study applies to the cities of Antioch and Brentwood, Byron-Bethany Irrigation District, Diablo Water District, Discovery Bay Community Services and East Contra Costa Irrigation District.

Even under drought like conditions, the plan found, “Groundwater conditions in the ECC Subbasin are favorable and reflect stability over the past 30 years or more. Using various analogies, the Subbasin can be described as generally full through various water-year types, including drought and is in good “health.” The favorable conditions are in part due to surface water availability that represents the largest sources of supply for municipal and agricultural uses in the Subbasin.”

Ryan Hernandez of the Department of Conservation and Planning said if the board of supervisors did not adopt the ECC-GSP, the county would be in violation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, which would result in the State Water Resources Board intervening in local groundwater management.

Rendering of the entrance of the West County Re-entry Treatment and Housing Facility. Source: Contra Costa County

$95.5 Million West County Detention Facility Expansion Plan Approved

Supervisors unanimously approved a $95.5 million design-build contract with Montana-based contractor Sletten Construction Company to design and build five secure housing units, a medical treatment center, reentry program space and building, and visitation facilities at the West County Detention Facility in Richmond. It will be known as the West County Re-entry Treatment and Housing Facility. WRTH presentation CCCBOS120721

One of the objectives of the project is to reduce overcrowding by 128 inmate beds to 288 high-security inmate beds in five housing units. Ninety-six beds will still be mental health treatment beds.

Possible Relocation of Marsh Creek Shooting Range

In a related matter, supervisors approved as a consent item a report on the future use and potential relocation of the shooting range at the Marsh Creek Detention Facility possibly to the Concord Naval Weapon Station. At the low-security detention facility inmates learn wood making skills and other basic education skills.

Used also as a training facility for the Office of the Sheriff and law enforcement agencies from Contra Costa County and surrounding counties, the Marsh Creek Range Facility generates revenue for the county. The range will bring about $113,000 for fiscal year 2021-2022, wrote County Administrator Monica Nino in her report to the supervisors.

Allen Payton contributed to this report.

 

Los Vaqueros Reservoir Joint Powers Authority formed for capacity expansion of 275%

Thursday, October 7th, 2021

Los Vaqueros Reservoir JPA partners. Source: CCWD

It will be pretty dam big!

By Jennifer Allen, Director of Public Affairs, Contra Costa Water District

Los Vaqueros Reservoir. Photo by Aerial Photographer Dick Jones courtesy of CCWater.com

Brentwood – The Los Vaqueros Reservoir Expansion Project (Project) passed a significant milestone today, Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021, in officially filing agreements needed to form a Joint Powers Authority. This important milestone puts a group of Local Agency Partners one step closer to Project implementation.

Los Vaqueros Reservoir is an off-stream reservoir that was originally built by Contra Costa Water District (CCWD) in 1998. The original reservoir capacity was 100,000 acre-feet and in 2012, CCWD completed the first phase of expansion to hold 160,000 acre-feet.

Expanding Los Vaqueros to a new capacity of 275,000 acre-feet and adding new conveyance facilities will provide environmental, water supply reliability, operational flexibility, water quality and recreational benefits. Those benefits earned the expansion $470 million of the $2.7 billion in water storage investments approved by voters when Proposition 1 passed. The remainder of the project costs will be covered by federal and local partners.

Transforming a local reservoir into a regional facility requires partnerships. Agencies in the Bay Area and Central Valley, serving urban areas, agricultural land and wildlife refuges, have come together to move this expansion forward. A critical step in forming this partnership is the creation of the Los Vaqueros Reservoir Joint Powers Authority (JPA).

“Contra Costa Water District looks forward to working with all of the partners on the JPA in making financing, construction, and operations decisions for the expansion,” said Lisa Borba, CCWD Board President. “As the owner and operator of the system, we know the valuable benefits that Los Vaqueros continues to provide our customers and growing those benefits for a larger region is a smart investment for future generations.”

The JPA establishes the governance of the Project among the partnering agencies and provides the organizational framework for Project design, construction, operation, maintenance and funding. JPA members will bring perspectives from the agency or agencies they represent and work collaboratively to meet the needs of all agencies involved. The JPA will hold its first official public meeting in mid-November.

“The Los Vaqueros Reservoir Expansion is not only important for EBMUD, but for the Bay Area and the region as a whole,” said John Coleman, EBMUD Ward 2 Director and Los Vaqueros JPA Board Member. “Along with efforts such as water conservation, water recycling, and supplemental supplies, EBMUD will continue to support mutually-beneficial regional reliability efforts to prepare for an uncertain future.”

Looking forward, the Project team is continuing work to secure the necessary permits, approvals and agreements to begin construction. At this point, construction is scheduled to begin in the winter of 2023.

More information about the JPA is available at www.losvaquerosjpa.com.

OTHER JPA PARTNER STATEMENTS

Zone 7 – Tri-Valley

“For the Zone 7 Board, participation in this project represents a lesson learned from the last drought. Our constituents were clear that they wanted the Agency to pursue additional local storage and this is a key step towards fulfilling that request,” noted Angela Ramirez Holmes, Zone 7 Board President. “In addition to local storage, this regional partnership also has the benefit of emergency conveyance which is critical for when there are pumping restrictions in the Delta preventing Zone 7 from accessing State Water Project water. This alternative conveyance will increase the Tri-Valley water system’s reliability.”

Alameda County Water District

“The current drought is a stark reminder of the importance of reliable water storage, and Alameda County Water District is proud of our partnership with Contra Costa Water District and other Bay Area and regional stakeholders on this multi-benefit project,” said Aziz Akbari, ACWD Board President.  “ACWD’s participation in the JPA is another example of interagency coordination for the benefit of our customers and our region as we help guide improvements in long-term water supply reliability along with wildlife and environmental benefits as California works to combat climate change.”

Bay Area Water Supply and Conservation Agency 

“The Bay Area Water Supply and Conservation Agency (BAWSCA) is pleased to see continued progress in the Los Vaqueros Expansion Project, including this most recent milestone of the JPA formation,” said Nicole Sandkulla, BAWSCA CEO/General Manager. “The project, when in place, will serve to augment the water supply reliability of the San Francisco Regional Water System (System) during times of drought, helping to address the critical needs of the water users in the BAWSCA region that rely on the System to meet a majority of their water supply needs.”

Grassland Water District

“Grassland Water District is pleased to be involved with the formation of California’s newest water JPA,” said GWD General Manager Ricardo Ortega. “The Los Vaqueros Reservoir Expansion Project is a bright spot for California’s water future and will provide increasingly important ecosystem water supplies for wildlife refuges.”

San Francisco Public Utilities Commission

“Regional Cooperation is crucial for a resilient and reliable water future for our customers given the stresses that global climate change and shifting regulations put on our water supplies,” said Michael Carlin, Acting General Manager for the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission. “The SFPUC is committed to working with our partners on regional solutions, such as the Los Vaqueros Reservoir Expansion Project.”

San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority

“California’s increasingly variable water cycle – including our current devastating drought conditions – continues to reinforce the need to pursue an all of the above approach to increasing water supply reliability for our communities and ecosystems,” said Federico Barajas, Executive Director of the San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority. “We know the solutions – increased water storage, improved water conveyance, operations that are responsive to changing conditions – and are pleased to be a partner to advance the next step in making the Los Vaqueros Reservoir Expansion Project a reality.”

Santa Clara Valley Water District

“Our Board is proactively exploring ways to secure enough water to help all our communities in Santa Clara County weather droughts,” Valley Water Board Chair Tony Estremera said. “Valley Water looks forward to working with our JPA partners on this important project that could improve the reliability of our region’s water supply.”