The Bay Area Regional Reliability (BARR) partnership was developed to provide a framework for eight San Francisco Bay Area water agencies to address water supply reliability concerns and drought preparedness on a mutually beneficial and regionally-focused basis. Since adopting guiding principles in 2014 and executing a Memorandum of Agreement in 2015, the BARR Partners have successfully completed a Drought Contingency Plan (DCP) that is supported by external stakeholders. One of the early-action drought mitigation measures identified in the DCP was to develop a regional water market program to facilitate voluntary transfers and exchanges and maximize efficient use of existing assets and resources.
In the summer of 2019, seven BARR Partners initiated development of the Bay Area Shared Water Access Program (SWAP). (Marin Municipal Water District elected not to participate in this project but remains part of the overall BARR partnership.) The Bay Area SWAP is a continuing effort to build regional resilience and is funded in part by a Water Marketing Strategy Grant through the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. The goal of the Bay Area SWAP is to develop a Strategy Report outlining an implementation plan that will facilitate transfers to and exchanges within the Bay Area, leveraging existing infrastructure and institutional agreements. The participating BARR Partners will submit the Strategy Report to the Bureau of Reclamation by 2022. In the context of this program, “transfers” refer to the movement of water from upstream of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta (Delta) to a downstream user, whereas “exchanges” refer to the movement and reallocation of supplies among BARR Partners to be returned at a later date, and to exchanges with groundwater banks. See Figure 1 for a conceptual model of the Bay Area SWAP framework.