A Drought Conversation with California’s Natural Resources Secretary

Days before the federal government shied-away from telling Western states how to curtail consumption of the drought-stressed Colorado River, Gov. Gavin Newsom unveiled a plan to speed-up projects that would help California use less of it.

To be clear: California hasn’t yet taken any big cuts from its Colorado River allocation, despite being its largest user. But, as pressure mounts, it might, writes Ian James of the Los Angeles Times. Newsom’s plan doesn’t mention the Colorado River directly, but it’s conceivable this is an effort to prepare California for that reality – or at least prove the state is doing something.

Opinion: California — Where Extreme Drought and ‘Megaflood’ Potential Collide

California’s water future is dire indeed — there’s not only the likelihood of too little, but also the possibility of way too much.

The potential for broad, devastating effects of climate change have become familiar over the years. In recent times, the prospect of actually running out of water has gone from the abstract to a realistic scenario in some regions of California and the Southwest.

Newsom’s ‘Water Supply Strategy’ Geared to Combat Drought, Climate Change

The Golden State is doing more than just praying for rain amidst the historic drought that is battering the state and the western United States.

Gov. Gavin Newsom unveiled a plan that would increase California’s water supply and combat the extreme weather patterns caused by climate change. The initiative, its scope captured in the 19-page “California’s Water Supply Strategy, Adapting to a Hotter, Drier Future” document released by Newsom’s administration, will invest $8 billion in water recycling, storage, and desalination.

Governor’s Resilience Strategy Promotes Needed Investments in Water Reliability

Aug. 11, 2022 – Sandra L. Kerl, general manager of the San Diego County Water Authority, issued the following statement in response to the water supply strategy released today by Gov. Newsom.

“Gov. Newsom has shown remarkable leadership dealing with extreme drought conditions, and his new strategy to improve California’s water resilience is another important step to protect the state’s economy and quality of life. The governor’s approach aligns closely with the Water Authority’s 30-year strategy that combines new supplies, infrastructure upgrades and conservation.

“While conservation has become a way of life in San Diego County, it’s clear that we cannot conserve our way out of the more frequent severe droughts afflicting the arid West. Both here and across the state, we must continue making strategic investments in supply reliability. We support state efforts to promote long-term thinking and the development of infrastructure to increase our capacity for water storage, water production, and water distribution. Those efforts are already well underway in the San Diego region, where our member agencies are developing repurification plants that extend our supplies by treating wastewater to drinking water standards.

“We applaud Gov. Newsom and the state for continued coordination and consideration of the unique hydrology of California’s different communities as they address long-term water supplies and the aridification of the West. We also welcome former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to the governor’s water leadership team. His experience and know-how will be critical to rapidly deploying solutions that are so urgently needed statewide and securing federal funds for that work.

“As we collectively work to improve California’s water supply, state and federal agencies have an opportunity and a responsibility to help pay for needed upgrades to ensure that safe and reliable water supplies are available and affordable for every Californian.”

— Sandra L. Kerl, General Manager, San Diego County Water Authority

California Unveils Water Strategy, Planning for Greater Scarcity

California Governor Gavin Newsom unveiled a new water strategy on Thursday that plans for a future with 10% less water and shifts the emphasis from conservation to capturing more water that otherwise flows out to sea.

Climate change has contributed to more severe drought but has also set the stage for more intense flooding when rain does fall, as was demonstrated last week in California’s Death Valley, one of the hottest, driest parts of the United States.

Newsom: Desalination Project Should be Approved — “We Need More Damn Tools in the Toolkit”

Citing California’s worsening drought conditions, Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday made a powerful new push for a controversial $1.4 billion desalination plant on the state’s coastline.

The proposed oceanfront facility in Huntington Beach has been under debate for more than 20 years, and its fate could set a course for other desalination plants on the state’s coast. The California Coastal Commission is scheduled to take a final vote on the project in two weeks.

“We need more tools in the damn tool kit,” Newsom said during a meeting with the Bay Area News Group editorial board when asked about the project. “We are as dumb as we want to be. What more evidence do you need that you need to have more tools in the tool kit than what we’ve experienced? Seven out of the last 10 years have been severe drought.”

New $2.3 Billion Dam Planned Near Pacheco Pass Gets Big Boost From State

A plan to build a new $2.3 billion reservoir in southern Santa Clara Couty passed a significant milestone on Wednesday when a key state agency ruled that it continues to qualify for nearly half a billion dollars in state funding.

Major New Reservoir Proposed for Santa Clara County Faces Key Vote

After more than four years of planning, study and political debate, a proposal to build a $2.3 billion reservoir in Santa Clara County — the largest reservoir constructed in the Bay Area in more than 20 years — will reach a make-or-break moment Wednesday.

The California Water Commission, a 9-member panel appointed by Gov. Gavin Newsom, is scheduled to vote on whether the project, which would be located near Pacheco Pass, will continue to be eligible to receive $496 million in state funding.


Salton Sea Habitat Restoration Project Touted

An ongoing species conservation habitat project at the Salton Sea’s southwestern shore is serving as a reminder that the sea’s restoration remains a key priority for Gov. Gavin Newsom.

So, too, is a tour that dozens of state, federal and local stakeholders took of the project site where the New River enters the Salton Sea several miles west of Westmorland on Friday, Dec. 10.

Among those present was California Natural Resources Agency Secretary Wade Crowfoot, who said the tour was an acknowledgement of the ambitious Salton Sea Management Program’s progress and the overall work that remains to be done.

Opinion: Governor’s Drought Solutions: Too Little, Too Late

Four words sum up Gov. Gavin Newsom’s latest effort to ease the impact of the drought: too little, too late.

California needs to take far more aggressive action to ensure a reliable source of water for 2022 and beyond. Newsom’s administration is targeting unreasonable waste by urban users, who consume 20% of the state’s water. It’s time for him also to get aggressive with Big Ag, which sucks up the other 80%.