practices, conservation, and demand management with regard to all uses, in stream and out of stream. Delta plans will affect and be affected by an important Colorado River basin linkage and other interbasin and interstate transfer agreements. In this chapter the committee attempts to identify some of the planning and water management characteristics that are needed as well of some of institutional opportunities that exist to address these needs.
Management of the water and environment of the delta is fragmented, as noted previously. One outcome of this is that decisions are often problem- or site-specific and not coordinated with related decisions made by other management agencies. For example, groundwater planning and assessment take place locally, but there is no coordination between local plans or statewide regulation of groundwater and it is not clear how the potential of groundwater storage has been incorporated into statewide plans. Rehabilitating an ecosystem requires a systems-oriented management approach, but decision making is almost always in response to the demands of particular and competing interests (Pfeffer and Wagenet 2011). Such reactive decision-making results in decisions that are narrowly cast at meeting specific demands or reconciling differences between the incompatible demands of competing interests. An obvious example of such interest-driven decision making is water allocation during drought when supplies are insufficient to meet all the agricultural, urban, industrial, and environmental demands. In such a situation it is important that a systematic, transparent process be in place to reconcile the demands of specific interests and to represent more general ecosystem needs. The absence of such a process has led to intense political competition for water resources while the adverse effects of scarcity are being felt.
A recent review of the structure and approach to California water planning by the Little Hoover Commission concluded that the fragmentation of management and resulting lack of system-level decision making could be addressed if there were a single entity accountable and in charge of California’s water planning (Little Hoover Commission 2010). That report laid out a possible organizational model, which is shown in Figure 5-1. This schematic identifies one possible configuration of responsibilities among the relevant state agencies in California, but such a framework also needs to address how federal responsibilities and interstate factors would be incorporated. There are other options. For example, Hanak et al. (2011), addressing the same issue, made a different but related proposal. A comprehensive vision for governance of California’s water policy has yet to be laid out, but it is critically needed if progress is to be made.
This committee did not conduct a management analysis such as that of the Little Hoover Commission Report, which is presented only as an example, but it is clear that the current organizational structure (or absence of structure) makes it difficult to develop a thoughtful, balanced, sustainable