California faces a range of water challenges, from vulnerable infrastructure to severely depleted groundwater basins to unsafe drinking water in many communities to uncertain water supplies for our cities and agriculture — all of which are magnified by climate change.
In response to these challenges, Governor Gavin Newsom has released a final version of the Water Resilience Portfolio, a water policy roadmap to guide state efforts to meet the water needs of California’s communities, economy and environment as the climate changes.
The portfolio outlines 142 state actions to help build a climate-resilient water system and ensure healthy waterways in the face of climate change. The actions tie directly to Administration efforts to carry out recent laws regarding safe and affordable drinking water, groundwater sustainability and water-use efficiency. They also protect the long-term functionality of the State Water Project and other conveyance infrastructure.
“Water is the lifeblood of our state, sustaining communities, wildlife and our economy,” said Governor Newsom. “For more than a year, my Administration has worked to assemble a blueprint to secure this vital and limited resource into the future in a way that builds climate resilience for all communities.”
The California Natural Resources Agency, California Environmental Protection Agency, and California Department of Food and Agriculture solicited extensive public input to prepare the portfolio. The agencies released a draft version of the document for public feedback in January this year. Input from more than 200 separate individuals and organizations helped shape revisions, including the addition of 14 new actions.
“The state’s playbook for managing water in coming decades must be broad and comprehensive,” said Secretary for Natural Resources Wade Crowfoot. “The portfolio identifies how the state can help regions maintain and diversify water supplies, protect and enhance natural systems and prepare for a future that looks very different from our recent past.”
Given the recent downturn in the state’s budget situation, the final version acknowledges that the pace of progress on the actions in the portfolio will depend upon the resources available.
The Portfolio outlines the following priorities:
- Implementing the Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Act of 2019
- Supporting local communities to successfully implement the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act of 2014
- Achieving voluntary agreements to increase flows and improve conditions for native fish in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and its watersheds
- Modernizing the Delta water conveyance system to protect long-term functionality of the State Water Project
- Updating regulations to expand water recycling
- Accelerating permitting of new smart water storage
- Expanding seasonal floodplains for fish and flood benefits
- Improving conditions at the Salton Sea
- Removing dams from the Klamath River
- Better leveraging of information and data to improve water management