Contra Costa County Water Agency
The Contra Costa County Water Agency is governed by the Board of Supervisors and advises the Board on Water Policy that may affect the County.
The Water Agency advocates on the local, State and Federal levels to protect and improve the water quality, flows and the overall health of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta (Delta). The Delta relies on California’s two biggest rivers, the Sacramento and San Joaquin, and is the largest estuary on the West Coast. East Contra Costa County covers a large area within the southwestern Delta. The entire northern border of the County is bound by waterfront that flows from the Delta to the San Francisco Bay. The County is the ninth most populous county in California, with more the one million residents.
A healthy, vibrant Delta Estuary is, therefore, closely tied to the physical, societal and economic health of those who live, work and recreate in the San Francisco Bay-Delta region and throughout much of the state. These natural features are the basis for not only the County's identity and quality of life but also our economic vitality. The Delta is the sole water source for half of the County and is relied upon to provide high-quality water to municipal and industrial users. It provides a source of livelihood for fishing, farming and recreation.
Today, the Delta ecosystem finds itself in jeopardy and current operational practices are not sustainable. Coupled with a changing climate and rising sea levels, water managers at all levels of government must adapt their operations to reverse the significant decline in the health of the Delta. To that end, the County is proactive in its advocacy for developing new strategies that take water from the Delta when water is in surplus to the environmental, municipal and agricultural needs of those who reside in the Delta. An essential part of that strategy is the ability to export and store water captured during periods of high flows in the Delta so that the current level of exports during drier months can be substantially decreased. The Delta ecosystem and water quality are most vulnerable during drier months when flows are very low.
Economic Health - Agriculture
A healthy Delta provides economic opportunities for the region by providing clean fresh water for agricultural production such as asparagus.
Economic Health - Commerce
A healthy Delta provides economic opportunities for the region by supporting commerce such as industry, agriculture, marinas, ports, shipping and commercial fishing.
A healthy Delta requires sufficient water supply of good quality/quantity and habitat for healthy populations of fish and other native aquatic, terrestrial and avian species, both migratory and year-round. This includes flows to allow fish to migrate through the Delta, escape predators, and to provide connectivity between habitat areas.
Economic Health - Recreation
A healthy Delta would promote economic health due to recreational activities such as fishing, boating, camping, and hiking.
Protects People and Property
A healthy Delta would protect people and property through strong levees, comprehensive emergency response and a water supply of good quality.
Our Work - County Water Policy and Current Issues
County Water Policy
The quality and quantity of Delta water that flows through the Delta and the health of the Delta ecosystem are of major importance to the County and its residents. So, Contra Costa County has developed the Delta Water Platform to identify and promote activities and policy positions that support the creation of a healthy Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
View Delta Water Platform (PDF)
The Contra Costa County Water Agency is also a member of the Delta County Coalition (DCC) to advocate for Delta-related issues of interest to all members of the the DCC.The other members of the DCC are Solano County, Yolo County, San Joaquin County and Sacramento County.
View DCC 12 Principles (PDF)
The Delta Conveyance Project (DCP)
The Department of Water Resources (DWR) has been studying the idea of an isolated conveyance system through or around the Delta since the Peripheral Canal project beginning as early as the 1970s. More recently, DWR prepared environmental impact documents for the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) and the subsequent California WaterFix. These latter versions of Delta Conveyance consisted of twin tunnels under the Delta. The currently proposed Delta Conveyance Project is a single tunnel, isolated conveyance, and is a new project and is not supplemental to these past efforts or tiered from previous environmental compliance documents. In fact, on May 2, 2019, DWR fully withdrew its environmental documentation for WaterFix and cancelled the associated water rights change petition for WaterFix.
The proposed single-tunnel project would construct and operate new conveyance facilities in the Delta that would add to the existing State Water Project infrastructure. New intake facilities as points of diversion are proposed to be located in the north Delta along the Sacramento River between Freeport and the confluence with Sutter Slough [more specifically, between Clarksburg and Courtland]. The new conveyance facilities would include a tunnel to convey water from the new intakes to the existing Banks Pumping Plant and potentially the federal Jones Pumping Plant in the south Delta.
New facilities proposed for the Delta Conveyance Project include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Intake facilities on the Sacramento River
- Tunnel reaches and tunnel shafts
- Pumping plant
- South Delta Conveyance Facilities (in the Byron area)
- A direct connection to Bethany Reservoir
Considering the documented impacts from the recent isolated conveyance projects, the DCP would likely adversely impact the quality of municipal and industrial water delivered within Contra Costa and adversely affect recreational uses of the Delta. The DCP will also likely adversely impact fish abundance in the Delta by reducing flows and freshwater areas within the Delta which will reduce the recreational enjoyment of the Delta by County residents. Construction of the project in the vicinity of Clifton Court Forebay near Byron could have significant land use and flood control impacts within the County.
East Contra Costa Groundwater Subbasin
The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), effective January 1, 2015, established a framework of priorities and requirements to facilitate sustainable groundwater management throughout the State. The intent of SGMA is for groundwater to be managed by local public agencies and newly-formed Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs) to ensure a groundwater basin is operated within its sustainable yield through the development and implementation of a Groundwater Sustainability Plans (GSP).
The East Contra Costa Subbasin (Basin), referred to as San Joaquin Valley-East Contra Costa (5-022.19), is a Medium priority groundwater basin based on the Groundwater Basin Prioritization by the State Department of Water Resources (DWR) and is located in eastern Contra Costa County, see the Groundwater Sustainability Agencies Map (PDF).
Eight local agencies that overlay the Basin entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on May 9, 2017 to collaborate and develop a single GSP for the East CC Basin. With the exception of Contra Costa Water District, each member agency has become Groundwater Sustainability Agency (GSA) to be the local agency to manage the Basin within their respective areas. The member agencies and contacts to the East CC Basin MOU include:
- City of Antioch, Scott Buenting, firstname.lastname@example.org, (925) 779-6129
- City of Brentwood, Eric Brennan, email@example.com, (925) 516-6020
- Byron Bethany Irrigation District, Rick Gilmore, firstname.lastname@example.org, (209) 835-0375
- Contra Costa County, Ryan Hernandez, email@example.com
- Contra Costa Water District, Jill Mosley, firstname.lastname@example.org, (925) 688-8127
- Diablo Water District, Dan Muelrath, email@example.com , (925) 625-3798
- Town of Discovery Bay, Mike Davies, firstname.lastname@example.org, 925-625-6159
- East Contra Costa Irrigation District, Aaron Trott, email@example.com , (925) 634-3544
The East Contra Costa Groundwater Sustainability Working Group is preparing a Draft Groundwater Sustainability Plan (Plan) and seeks input on the document.
The Groundwater Sustainability Agencies received comments on Sections 1 and 2 of the Draft Plan during the summer of 2020. Sections 3 and 4 that discuss groundwater conditions, including a Hydrological Conceptual Model and historical, current and projected water supply and comments were received on in January 2021.
All draft Sections are found at the link below, or email firstname.lastname@example.org and request the documents. Additional opportunities to comment on the draft Groundwater Sustainability Plan are expected in 2021.