Protecting Our River and Water Supply in the Bay-Delta Plan Update

Fact Sheet on the American River Region Proposed Voluntary Agreement

Water Forum stakeholders are actively working with the State Water Resources Control Board and U.S. Bureau of Reclamation to negotiate a voluntary agreement (VA) as part of the state’s Bay-Delta Water Quality Control Plan Update process. Our proposed VA would improve conditions for fish in the American River, maintain our region’s water supply reliability and provide additional water to improve the Delta environment.

Now this proposal is closer to reality as the State Water Board has pledged to consider the VA as an alternative to the conventional regulatory approach. There are still details to be ironed out, but our approach under the VA is expected to provide better conditions for fish in the lower American River in the near- and long-term.

Our plan for the region’s water future relies on three key features:

  • Managing Folsom Reservoir that ensures enough cool water is stored for fish and as a drought buffer for residents and businesses. In particular, we’re asking state and federal agencies to adopt the Water Forum’s locally-sourced, long-studied flow standard. When modeled and compared to the state’s approach, our flow standard produced significantly lower water temperatures during the crucial rearing season for steelhead, more spawning habitat for fall-run Chinook salmon, better overall habitat conditions, particularly in the driest years, and improved water supply reliability in the American River basin.
  • Continuing to increase the region’s water use efficiency to ensure everyone is contributing to a healthy American River and Delta. Local residents have demonstrated time and again that they are willing to use water efficiently. During the drought, residents reached some of the highest conservation levels in the state. And over time, the region’s water use has been steady even as the population has increased.
  • Investing in pipes, pumps and other infrastructure needed to fully utilize the region’s groundwater aquifer for drinking water during drought so that more water is available in the American River for fish when they need it most. Over the past several decades local water providers have been working together to strategically shift the region’s water use to surface water or groundwater according to availability and are actively working to develop the Sacramento Regional Water Bank, an innovative groundwater storage program. 

Join us in urging federal and state agencies to adopt the proposed VA for the lower American River and the Water Forum’s flow standard for managing flows on the lower American River.

Together, we can manage and protect the lower American River to preserve the beauty, vital ecosystem and prosperity that it provides, now and for many generations to come.

To learn more, please read our Fact Sheet on the American River Region Proposed Voluntary Agreement or contact: 916-808-1999.