The year 2014 will long be remembered as a watershed for California water law—it was the year of groundwater. Unlike almost all other states in the arid West, California never had a comprehensive system for regulating groundwater until 2014. It is a sea change for how water will be dealt with in future years.Last year was punctuated with news bulletins on the ever-deepening drought. Every day brought more news about receding levels of water in the state’s reservoirs, emergency declarations to conserve water, pictures of hard cracked land that once produced crops or supported cattle, pictures of dead fruit trees and pictures and stories of small rural towns whose wells had dried up, forcing residents to truck in water or go fill up containers and bring them back. Most of the state is in a drought to varying degrees, according to experts. WaterDesalination


Encourage responsible water quality goals and water development policies to meet the increasing demand for reliable water supplies.


save-Our-Water_logoThe 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.

Major Victories

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.

Keeping California Moving Toward Water Reliability. 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).


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.

Issues Summary


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, water use efficiency, conservation, conveyance and new storage, should be pursued to help increase water supply. Permit streamlining 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 participate in the rulemaking before the State Water Board as it amends the California Ocean Plan to set new rules for ocean water desalination intakes, mitigation and brine discharge. The CalChamber also will support any legislation streamlining the permit process for siting desalination projects. Desalination

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Valerie-Nera-2008-300x300Valerie Nera
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