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Bonds on the Ballot: Will Billions of Dollars Help California Cope With Climate Change?

Given California’s international leadership in addressing climate change, it isn’t surprising that voters will be asked this November to approve billions of dollars in bonds to help the state become more resilient.

But why settle for one ballot proposal when you can have three?

Water Authority Developing 2020 Urban Water Management Plan

January 23, 2020 – The San Diego County Water Authority’s Board of Directors on Thursday authorized work on the 2020 Urban Water Management Plan. The Board approved a contract with the firm Woodard & Curran to provide support services for preparation of the plan, which documents the region’s approach to ensuring a safe and reliable water supply.

For a video of how the Urban Water Management Plan works, go to: https://www.sdcwa.org/urban-water-management-plan-1

‘Things Will Blow Up’ If You Ignore Climate Risks — CEO

Rich Sorkin, CEO of Jupiter Intelligence, sees more than raging fires, rising seas and damaging winds in a warming world.

He also sees a business opportunity.

Sorkin, a longtime technology entrepreneur who’s worked in financial services and energy, is leading Jupiter, a Silicon Valley startup that analyzes physical and financial risks tied to climate change.

Is Climate Change Showing Up In The Daily Weather Forecast? It’s Complicated

Early this month, scientists announced a surprising discovery: The “fingerprint” of climate change is now detectable in everyday weather. In fact, evidence of global warming can be found in the planet’s weather every day, minute, and second since 2012.

But wait —you, a person who actually paid attention in your high school atmospheric science class, say — weather and climate are not the same! Right you are, dear reader. Weather is what happens in the moment (rain passing through, or the current temperature outside). Climate is average weather over time.

As the Salton Sea Shrinks, it Leaves Behind a Toxic Reminder of the Cost of Making a Desert Bloom

It’s just past noon on a Wednesday, but the bar at the Ski Inn in Bombay Beach, California, is already packed. The crowd is mostly Canadian, snowbirds escaping to the desert spas and country club communities that dominate this southeastern corner of the state, just 50 miles from Mexico. Bombay Beach is not their destination, just a side trip to see the ruins of the once-famous party town.

Senate Energy Chair Pulls San Diego Hydropower Bill

SACRAMENTO — State Senate energy committee chair Ben Hueso said Thursday he will drop
legislation that would have boosted a hydropower project near his San Diego district.

Hueso told supporters of the project Wednesday night that he, the city of San Diego and the San
Diego County Water Authority, agreed to table CA SB597 (19R), according to an email Hueso’s
office provided to POLITICO.

Opinion: California’s Renewable Energy Targets Slashed Carbon Pollution — Now There’s a Proposal to Pause Them

California’s ambitious renewable energy targets helped drive a substantial drop in greenhouse gas pollution that propelled the state past its 2020 climate change goals early, according to a non-partisan analysis released this week. Yet one California lawmaker confirmed Tuesday he wants to put a stop to the mandate, for now.

Most of the carbon pollution that California scrubbed from its economy over the past ten years disappeared from the state’s electricity sector.

California Agencies Release Draft Water Resilience Portfolio

Three California state agencies today released a draft water resilience portfolio intended to help the state manage more extreme droughts and floods, aging infrastructure, declining fish populations and other challenges.

The California Natural Resources Agency, California Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Food and Agriculture developed the draft to fulfill Governor Gavin Newsom’s April 29, 2019 executive order calling for a portfolio of actions to ensure the state’s long-term water resilience and ecosystem health.

“The portfolio approach to water supply reliability is a significant advance in how our most precious resource is managed statewide, in line with our long-term strategy in San Diego County,” said Sandra L. Kerl, general manager of the San Diego County Water Authority. “As we review the details of the new plan, we will continue collaborating with the state agencies and other partners to turn this vision into a reality that benefits our region.”

Portfolio Tour July 2019

California Agencies Release Draft Water Resilience Portfolio

Three California state agencies today released a draft water resilience portfolio intended to help the state manage more extreme droughts and floods, aging infrastructure, declining fish populations and other challenges.

The California Natural Resources Agency, California Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Food and Agriculture developed the draft to fulfill Governor Gavin Newsom’s April 29, 2019 executive order calling for a portfolio of actions to ensure the state’s long-term water resilience and ecosystem health.

“The portfolio approach to water supply reliability is a significant advance in how our most precious resource is managed statewide, in line with our long-term strategy in San Diego County,” said Sandra L. Kerl, general manager of the San Diego County Water Authority. “As we review the details of the new plan, we will continue collaborating with the state agencies and other partners to turn this vision into a reality that benefits our region.”

Water Portfolio Tour July 2019

State and Water Authority officials before aerial and ground tour of regional water infrastructure on July 18, 2019. Photo: Water Authority

State agency leaders tour water infrastructure in San Diego County

Several state officials visited San Diego County on July 18, 2019 to assess the region’s water projects as part of their role in developing a water portfolio strategy for the state.

Natural Resources Secretary Wade Crowfoot, Deputy Natural Resources Secretary Thomas Gibson, State Department of Food and Agriculture Secretary Karen Ross, and State Water Resources Board Chair E. Joaquin Esquivel got a first-hand look at investments to diversify the region’s water supply, including the San Vicente Reservoir, Olivenhain Reservoir, and the Claude “Bud” Lewis Carlsbad Desalination Plant.

“San Diego is a great example of the challenges and complexities of managing water supply, as we look to supercharge water resiliency in California,” said E. Joaquin Esquivel, Chair, Calif. State Water Resources Control Board, after the July tour of water infrastructure.

Newsom’s order directed his administration to “identify and assess a suite of complementary actions to ensure safe and resilient water supplies, flood protection and healthy waterways for the state’s communities, economy and environment.”

Draft Water Resilience Portfolio encourages ‘collaboration within and across regions’

“This draft portfolio has been shaped to provide tools to local and regional entities to continue building resilience and to encourage collaboration within and across regions,” said Natural Resources Secretary Wade Crowfoot in a news release from the three agencies. “At the same time, state government needs to invest in projects of statewide scale and importance and tackle challenges beyond the scope of any region. Taken together, the proposed actions aim to improve our capacity to prepare for disruptions, withstand and recover from shocks, and adapt from these experiences.”

The draft release comes after several months of public input, and listening sessions, including comments from the San Diego County Water Authority and its 24 member agencies.

Draft Water Resilience Portfolio outlines more than 100 integrated actionable recommendations in four broad areas:

  • Maintain and diversify water supplies

    State government will continue to help regions reduce reliance on any one water source and diversify supplies to enable flexibility amidst changing conditions. Diversification will look different in each region based on available water resources, but the combined effect will strengthen resilience and reduce pressure on river systems.

  • Protect and enhance natural ecosystems

    State leadership is essential to restore the environmental health of key river systems to sustain fish and wildlife. This requires effective standard-setting, continued investments, and more adaptive, holistic environmental management.

  • Build connections

    State actions and investment will improve physical infrastructure to store, move, and share water more flexibly and integrate water management through shared use of science, data, and technology.

  • Be prepared

    Each region must prepare for new threats, including more extreme droughts and floods and hotter temperatures. State investments and guidance will enable preparation, protective actions, and adaptive management to weather these stresses.

Major Reser

Federal, state, and local governments have built separate systems of dams, reservoirs, and conveyance facilities to move water to cities and farms and provide flood protection. This map, from the draft Water Resilience Portfolio, shows the largest such facilities. Graphic: State of California

To develop the portfolio, state agencies conducted an inventory and assessment of key aspects of California water, soliciting broad input from tribes, agencies, individuals, groups, and leaders across the state.

“From Northern California to the Central Valley and the South, Californians from cities, farms, and other sectors are working together to develop innovative solutions to the climate-related water challenges that the state is already experiencing and that are expected to worsen,” said California Environmental Protection Agency Secretary Jared Blumenfeld. “This draft portfolio is an important step toward building resilience to ensure the long-term health of our water supplies and ecosystems.”

Public comments on draft portfolio

The public will be able to submit written feedback on the draft portfolio through February 7. A final water resilience portfolio will be released soon after that.

“State agencies are only one set of water decision-makers in California,” California Secretary for Food and Agriculture Karen Ross said. “Continuing to improve our water systems relies on collaboration across all groups of water users and all stakeholders. Accordingly, feedback on this draft will be important to refining and finalizing our portfolio.”

Trump Rule Would Exclude Climate Change in Infrastructure Planning

Federal agencies would no longer have to take climate change into account when they assess the environmental impacts of highways, pipelines and other major infrastructure projects, according to a Trump administration plan that would weaken the nation’s benchmark environmental law.

The proposed changes to the 50-year-old National Environmental Policy Act could sharply reduce obstacles to the Keystone XL oil pipeline and other fossil fuel projects that have been stymied when courts ruled that the Trump administration did not properly consider climate change when analyzing the environmental effects of the projects.