Environmental Water Account
The CALFED Bay-Delta Program is a collaborative effort of 23 Federal and State agencies. The primary goals of the CALFED program are: to restore the ecological health of the Bay-Delta estuary; improve water supply reliability to farms and cites; protect drinking water quality; and protect the integrity of the Delta levees for water conveyance and ecosystem function. The CALFED Programmatic EIS/EIR Record of Decision (August 2000) identified an Environmental Water Account (EWA) as one element of its overall strategy for meeting the goals of the CALFED Program.
The EWA is a cooperative management program to protect the fish of the Bay-Delta estuary through environmentally beneficial changes in CVP/SWP operations at no uncompensated water cost to the Central Valley Project (CVP) / State Water Project (SWP) water users. The EWA consists of two primary elements:
1. Assisting in protecting/restoring at-risk native fish species; and
2. Increasing water supply reliability for CVP/SWP water service contractors by reducing uncertainty associated with fish protective actions.
To accomplish these two elements, the EWA helps protect/restore at-risk fish by primarily curtailing pumping at the CVP Tracy and SWP Harvey O. Banks pumping plants in the Delta and helps ensure water supply reliability by purchasing water from willing sellers that is used to replace contract water supplies not diverted from the Delta during pumping curtailments. When appropriate, the EWA may also release its EWA water "assets" from upstream reservoirs to help enhance instream flows and water temperatures in rivers tributary to the Delta for migrating anadromous fish. The EWA is an innovative program being implemented by five federal and state agencies: U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Marine Fisheries Service, and the California Departments of Water Resources and Fish and Game. Collectively, they are referred to as the "EWA agencies".