Until channel improvements and facility construction is completed along the San Joaquin River, the San Joaquin River Restoration Program (SJRRP) is limited in its ability to release Restoration Flows. During wetter years in the early evolution of the program, the program’s allocation of water will exceed the conveyance capacity of the river and associated channels, resulting in Unreleased Restoration Flows (URFs). URFs may also be generated as a result of facility maintenance or channel improvement construction. As channel capacity is improved over time, annual generation of URFs will be reduced and will eventually be zero.
The Settlement provides guidance on how the SJRRP should manage and distribute URFs. URFs will be managed to best achieve the Restoration Goal. As per Settlement Paragraph 13(i), the SJRRP will be developing instruments (contracts and/or agreements) with interested parties for the exchange for future return (banking or exchange) and transfer (sale) of URFs. Because of the narrow window of time between the allocation of Restoration Flows and when URFs should be distributed so they may be most effectively used, a streamlined process is sought for both the exchange and transfer of URFs.