State’s water plans raise concern for Roseville

Editorial by Mayor Susan Rohan

The State of California is currently developing the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) with the goals of providing a more reliable water supply for southern California and restoring the ecosystem of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. As a longtime member of this community, I am deeply concerned that this plan, as it currently exists, totally ignores severe threats to northern California and Roseville's long-term water supply reliability and here’s why.

The BDCP’s modeling projections show that continuing sea level rise and increasing statewide water demands in the coming years are likely to draw Folsom Reservoir to such low levels in the driest years that Roseville might not be able to meet its water needs. However, the existing and long term water needs of areas served by Folsom Reservoir, including Roseville, have largely been ignored in the BDCP.

In fact, once every nine years, the plan indicates that the water level in Folsom Reservoir is projected to drop below the outlets through which Roseville draws its drinking water. This would turn Folsom Reservoir into a literal “dead pool” 10 percent of the time.

Even more concerning is that the state Department of Water Resources seems to show little concern over how this projected “dead pooling” of Folsom Reservoir would devastate Roseville and the region's economy.

While I do understand that the BDCP is an effort to solve major long-term environmental and water conveyance challenges; it cannot be at the expense of our region. The State needs to take a step back, think through a real set of solutions for increased water supply reliability for the whole state and not treat this effort as a zero sum game, with clear winners and losers. Nobody in California wins if our region’s economy fails due to a lack of reliable water supply because of poor State planning.

Realizing that we must come to the table with solutions to these statewide problems, Roseville’s request to Governor Brown and his administration is simple: Stop the BDCP and seek input from all communities affected by these issues to develop a plan that actually addresses the entire state's water issues and still allows our region to maintain its water supply reliability now and into the future. The two do not need to be mutually exclusive and all it takes is real, thoughtful dialogue using real science with all stakeholders at the table, including upstream communities such as Roseville, to make it happen.

Roseville joins a rising chorus of business leaders, concerned citizens and local, state and federal elected officials who represent northern California communities who are speaking out and demanding that the Governor to stop the shortsighted planning of the BDCP and develop a real statewide plan for water supply reliability for our future; and we want our community to be informed on this important issue.