With more water available, 2016 was much less stressful than the prior couple of years. It rained a little more, snowed in the mountains and was just cold enough to keep the snowpack intact long enough to provide water for the state’s reservoirs in the spring and summer months. The drought isn’t over; it’s just not as severe. The northern part of the state is recovering, but the Central Valley, Central Coast and Southern California still are designated as in an extreme or exceptional drought status. The new water year started out with a wet October but segued into a dry November. It is impossible to predict what kind of water year 2016–2017 will be, so it is reasonable to prepare for another dry winter.
Diversified Water Supply Sources Central to Staying Prepared for Long-Term Needs
The Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA) and the California Department of Water Resources have partnered to develop and carry out the Save Our Water program. A “Words to Save By” blog was added in 2012.
Related Issues Article:
Desalination Offers Drought-Proof New Supply of Drinking Water
Encourage responsible water quality goals and water development policies to meet the increasing demand for reliable water supplies.
The CalChamber supports a comprehensive solution to California’s chronic water shortage. It is vitally important that all Californians have an adequate and reliable source of water while safeguarding the environment. Developing additional water supplies and conveyance facilities can no longer be postponed without subjecting the state to long-term economic damage. One serious earthquake or a series of Delta levee failures could leave millions of people and businesses without a water supply for the foreseeable future. Every means of providing more water should be vigorously pursued. Preparedness through diversification is the path to a comprehensive solution to California’s water future.
Protecting Vital Public Works Projects by opposing an initiative rejected by voters in 2016 that would have delayed or stopped vitally needed infrastructure projects all over the state—including water reliability projects, road safety and bridge repairs, university and college buildings—as well as impeded the state’s ability to make emergency repairs after a natural disaster (Proposition 53).
Promoting Availability and Security of California Water Supplies
- Supported landmark federal legislation in 2016 containing much-needed funding for water projects and allowing water regulators to make the best use of water to benefit all parts of the state (S. 612).
Improving Management of California Water Supply
- Supported follow-up legislation in 2015 to the landmark 2014 groundwater management law to improve judicial proceedings in comprehensive adjudications of groundwater rights without changing the law or existing water rights.
- In 2015, stopped misguided proposals to increase the excise tax on water use, publicize a business’ water and energy use and require labeling of agricultural products irrigated with cleaned wastewater from oil fields (SB 789, AB 1520, ABX2 14).
Investing in Water Supply Reliability
- Supported voter-approved Proposition 1 in 2014, providing funding for needed water storage projects, enabling the state to save in wet years for the inevitable droughts.
- Preserved ability for voters to consider a legislative and bond package putting the state on a pathway to long-term water supply reliability and ensuring a safe drinking water supply (AB 1265). Instrumental in developing that package in 2009 (SBX7 1, SBX7 2, SBX7 6, SBX7 7, SBX7 8).
Position: The California Chamber of Commerce supports a balanced approach to securing a safe and reliable supply and conveyance of water for all businesses and residents of California. Desalination, like recycling, water reuse, potable water reuse, water use efficiency, conservation, conveyance and new storage, should be pursued to help increase water supply. Permit streamlining amongst the various agencies should be undertaken to expedite the approval process.
Desalination is a viable option for the state’s future water supply picture. In order to meet its water supply challenges, California needs to pursue desalination where appropriate and feasible. Desalination will provide an invaluable addition to a well-balanced local or regional water portfolio with a reliable drought-proof component.
The CalChamber will support legislation streamlining the permit process for siting desalination projects. Desalination
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