Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta


Meter Completion - 2011How what happens to the Delta impacts Roseville - Although the City of Roseville is not geographically located in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, efforts underway to address issues in the Delta such as species extinction, climate change and other environmental issue has a profound impact upon Roseville, most specifically on the reliability of Roseville's water supply.  Since Roseville's primary water supply comes from Folsom Reservoir, the multiple demands placed upon Folsom from flood protection, to cold water management, to water supply for thousands of people, coupled with state and federal regulatory and legislative changes, makes water supply reliability and continuous challenge. Why should you care? The following information provides some concrete reasons to be concerned.

The Situation


Good Water Management in the Sacramento Region

What can I do?

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The Situation

DeltaThe Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta is unique. Not only is it a critical hub for California's water supply and infrastructure, its vast expanse encompasses nearly 740,000 acres, making it the largest estuary on the West Coast of the Americas. But the Delta is in crisis. The Delta suffers from aging levees, subsiding land, native fish species in decline while non-native organisms thrive, and increasing regulatory limitations on the amount and the timing of water diversions. All of this threatens the Delta ecosystem and California's water delivery system.

For those living and working in the Sacramento region, like Roseville, Delta problems hit close to home – the Delta and the rivers that feed it are much more than just critical components of California's water supplies. The Sacramento River and its tributaries support family farms, wildlife and fish habitat, recreation, hydropower and a growing urban economy and population.

Water providers in the Sacramento region, such as the City of Roseville's Environmental Utilities, are committed to finding sustainable solutions for the Delta and the state's water challenges. However, solutions currently under consideration could have significant impacts upon the region's water supplies, natural resources, economy and quality of life.

What's at Stake for the Sacramento Region

Water for People and Agriculture: Proposed plans rely on changing the amount and timing of water from the Sacramento River watershed region that flows into and through the Delta to improve the Delta environment. These changes may decrease the water available to those who live and work here. Changes to flow standards also could impact storage at Folsom Reservoir, which affects water supply for cities like Roseville, recreation and hydropower. Studies show that flow requirements could result in Folsom Reservoir reaching dead pool in dry years, essentially cutting off water supplies to urban populations in the Sacramento region, such as Roseville.

Folsom Lake and ReservoirEnvironment and Recreation: Changes in water and timing of deliveries to the Delta threatens the local environment and recreation by shrinking available cold water pools that support fish, including native salmon and steelhead, and reducing the amount of water available for fishing, rafting, water skiing and all of the other recreational opportunities that help make the Sacramento region special.

Our Economy: Water is a primary economic asset, and the region's water supplies are currently affordable, abundant and high quality – a significant draw for companies to invest in our region. Limiting access to water supplies would hinder future investment. In fact, the Sacramento region is already perceived by some to be water-scarce. Although the region lies along two of the state’s major rivers, Forbes magazine ranked Sacramento as one of the country's top 10 thirstiest cities in 2010, noting that, "Most of the water is promised to the rest of the state."

Decades of Progress: Delta efforts as proposed undermine the progress made over the past two decades to ensure reliable water supplies and a sustainable environment for our region. In 2000, for example, water providers, business leaders, environmental groups and others came together to sign the landmark Water Forum agreement. Water suppliers have made great progress toward meeting the agreement's coequal objectives of providing a reliable and safe water supply while preserving the environmental, recreational and aesthetic values of the Lower American River. For example:

• Reduced Water Use: The Sacramento region significantly reduced its water use in the past decade, according to the Water Forum. Their recent report showed that the number of gallons consumed per person per day has been decreasing steadily since 2001– from 290 gallons per person per day in 2001 to 218 gallons per person per day in 2010.

Cosmos sculptureWater Meters: In the Sacramento region, water meters are critical tools for managing supplies. While many water providers in the region, such as Roseville, have been fully metered for years, others are aggressively retrofitting their systems. This progress means that nearly 90 percent of water customers in the Sacramento region are now metered.

New Technology: With the installation of meters comes the opportunity for several water providers to implement state-of-the art wireless water meter reading systems at homes and businesses. Automated meter infrastructure provides real-time water use information, which helps water managers and customers understand how, when and why water is used.

Regional Water Management: Water providers are managing our water resources on a region-wide basis to expand surface water use from the Sacramento and American rivers during wet years so that we can rely on groundwater supplies during dry times.

Working for a Balanced Solution

Fish screensThe Delta is critical to California as an important ecosystem, a pathway to deliver Northern California water to people and farms to the south, but it is so much more. The Delta is home to more than half a million residents. Its hundreds of miles of meandering waterways draw visitors from throughout the state and around the world for fishing, boating and waterskiing and more. Its unique small towns, residents with lineages that span generations and family farms create a place like no other. Water providers recognize the need to resolve the conflict between competing interests and remain committed to finding sustainable solutions.

However, any proposed plan designed to protect the Delta and secure California's water supply must not come at the expense of those who live and work in the Sacramento region. Any Delta remedy should not undermine the Sacramento region's accomplishments and progress made.

Sacramento-area leaders must be allowed to proactively engage with state and federal policymakers to help develop and implement a solution to this statewide problem. Our region must be part of the discussion in order to help craft a fair and equitable solution.

Delta solutions must also include enforceable water rights and supply assurances. Bay Delta Conservation Plan parties are seeking a 50-year permit for water exports. Our region needs a similar level of certainty that we will be able to meet our current and future water needs. Any Delta solution without these assurances threatens the Sacramento region’s economy, natural resources and quality of life.

Good Water Management in the Sacramento Region

The Sacramento region over the past 20 years has made tremendous progress toward meeting the coequal objectives of providing a reliable and safe water supply for the Sacramento region while preserving the environmental, recreational and aesthetic values of our waterways. Following are a few highlights:

The Water Forum Agreement

Water providers, environmental groups, business interests and municipalities (including Roseville) began a process in the early 1990s to resolve conflicts over the American River. The Water Forum Agreement that was reached in 2000 is an historic regional commitment to provide a safe and reliable water supply to support the region's economy and preserve the environment of the American River. The landmark agreement provides a foundation for collaborative solutions and a process to resolve future conflicts between stakeholders.

Water Use Reductions

Water use reduction chart

The Sacramento region significantly reduced its water use in the past decade, according to reporting by the Water Forum. Their recent report showed that the number of gallons consumed per person per day has been decreasing steadily since 2001 – from 290 gallons per person per day in 2001 to 218 gallons per person per day in 2010. As part of the Water Forum agreement, each water provider in the region committed to implementing a comprehensive water efficiency plan. More than a decade later, water providers are dedicated to continuing the downward trend in water use.

A Commitment to Water Efficiency

Regional Water Authority (RWA) members are committed to leading water efficiency efforts with innovative and effective residential and business programs, such as:

Water Wise House Calls, which help reduce water use both inside and outside the home
Rebates on water-efficient toilets, clothes washers and weather-based irrigation controllers
• Demonstration gardens that feature low-water use plants, and training for landscape professionals and homeowners
• Partnerships with parks and other large landscapes to reduce water use
Subsidies for replacing home lawns with water-efficient landscaping, implemented prior to similar efforts in many water-scarce parts of the state
• The Blue Thumb outreach campaign, an award-winning effort that kicked off in 2010 to promote more efficient landscape water use

Water Reuse

Water providers in the region, such as Roseville, have been leaders in the development of alternative water supplies. Some now meet nearly 10 percent of overall demand through recycled water, including leading the nation in the use of recycled water for residential landscape irrigation. Others have developed innovative agreements to put remediated groundwater from contaminated plumes to beneficial uses to offset the use of potable water.

Progress on Water Meters

Water MeterIn the Sacramento region, water meters are critical tools for managing supplies. While many water providers in the region have been fully metered for years, others are aggressively retrofitting their systems. For example:
• The City of Roseville celebrated being “Fully Metered for the Future” in 2011.
• Carmichael Water District recently completed its meter installation program and now has more than 11,000 meters in service.
• California-American Water expects to install its final meter in spring 2013.
• Sacramento Suburban Water District (SSWD) installed 2,000 meters and transitioned about 1,700 flat rate accounts to metered rates in 2012. SSWD expects to install nearly 2,000 more meters this year, funded in part by over $500,000 in grants.
• The City of Sacramento completed installation of more than 2,700 meters in 2012 and expects to install 5,700 more in 2013. With the City’s aging infrastructure, many meter installations also include relocating water mains from customers’ backyards to the street. The City will be investing $77 million in the next three years to fund this effort.

This progress means that nearly 90 percent of water customers in the Sacramento region are now metered.

State-of-the Art Technology

With the installation of meters comes the opportunity for several water providers to implement state-of-the art wireless water meter reading systems at homes and businesses. Automated meter infrastructure (AMI) provides real-time water use information, which helps water managers and customers understand how, when and why water is used. AMI technology also helps pinpoint leaks by immediately flagging unusual surges so that repairs and adjustments can be made quickly.

Many agencies are also using metering data to help customers make more informed decisions about their water use. They are evaluating metering data and reaching out to the highest water users to suggest ways they can save. Some are also looking for anomalies in usage data that could indicate leaks. The City of Roseville is piloting a new online program that provides customers with their monthly water consumption through e-mail. This program also allows Roseville to provide customized information about water efficiency programs and services according to a customer's water use patterns.

FishingHabitat Improvements

Water providers are working through the Water Forum to improve the environment for native fisheries. For example, since 2000, local entities have committed more than $5 million to projects that enhance spawning habitat in the lower American River for salmon and other threatened species.

Regional Water Management

Water managers and a diverse group of stakeholders are collaborating on an update to the region's comprehensive Integrated Regional Water Management Plan (IRWMP). State and federal agencies recognized our leadership in regional planning by awarding more than $47 million in grant funding to support dozens of integrated projects in the Sacramento region. These projects allow water providers to manage water resources to create regional benefits, making it possible, for example, to preserve surface water in the American River for environmental needs during dry years by using groundwater supplies instead.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Visit the Regional Water Authority Web site at rwah2o.org or e-mail info@rwah2o.org.