Three years ago, amid shaky political support and uncertain funding, Gov. Gavin Newsom killed plans by his predecessor, Jerry Brown, to build two massive tunnels under the Sacramento-San Joaquin Valley Delta to more easily move water south.
Encinitas, Calif. — As California enters its third consecutive dry year and following the driest first three months of a year in the state’s recorded history, Governor Gavin Newsom and the State Water Resources Control Board took steps to drive water conservation at the local level, calling on local water suppliers to take locally appropriate actions that will conserve water across all sectors.
In response, the Olivenhain Municipal Water District and San Dieguito Water District are asking Encinitas residents to step-up and assist Californians across the state in dealing with the drought.
With California’s extreme drought persisting and reservoirs declining to new lows, state officials said they will consider imposing mandatory water restrictions if dryness continues this winter. Gov. Gavin Newsom called on Californians in July to voluntarily reduce water use by 15%, saying state water regulators would track progress toward that target and decide whether additional measures would be necessary.
California lawmakers on Thursday voted to spend more than $2 billion to prevent wildfires and address a severe drought, closing the book — for now — on a $262.5 billion operating budget that began the year with a record deficit because of the pandemic and ended with a record surplus in spite of it.
California, struggling to balance its clean energy push with the need to boost tight power supplies and avoid rolling blackouts, will lean more on fossil fuels in coming weeks to keep the power on if scorching heatwaves stretch its grid.
The Golden State, which has among the world’s most aggressive environmental policies, faces a potential supply shortfall of up to 3,500 megawatts during peak demand hours in the coming weeks. That is about 2.6 million households worth of electricity supply.
Board Chair responds to Gov. Newsom’s executive action today
April 21, 2021 – “We applaud Governor Newsom for taking a targeted, flexible, and iterative
approach to drought management that provides support for individual regions that are suffering
from drought while also recognizing regions like San Diego County that have sufficient water
supplies due to three decades of investments in supply reliability. The governor’s Water Portfolio
Strategy aligns with our long-term investments in a diversified water portfolio, desalinated
seawater, conserved water from Imperial County, local water-use efficiency measures, and
increased water storage. Because of those actions and others, our residents have enough water for
2021 and future dry years. We also applaud the efforts of our ratepayers, who have cut per capita
water use by nearly half since 1990.
“In addition, the innovative and resilient supply portfolio created by the Water Authority and its
24 member agencies puts our region in a unique position to provide solutions that can help
California weather this drought and future droughts – for instance, by storing water in Lake
Mead. We look forward to working with the governor and his staff to collaborate on projects and
programs where we can use our assets and experience to help areas that are hit hard by drought
in the face of a changing climate.
“Finally, we are proud to be a founding member of the coalition of water agencies mentioned by
the governor that support the important scientific research being done on climate change by our
own Scripps Institution of Oceanography.”
— Gary Croucher, Board Chair, San Diego County Water Authority
Gov. Gavin Newsom officially declared a drought emergency Wednesday in one of the driest regions of California, the Russian River watershed in Northern California.
While the governor stopped short of declaring a statewide drought, the move makes various forms of drought assistance available for Sonoma and Mendocino counties and could allow the state to take swifter action on curtailing farmers and others from pulling water from the river.
However, Newsom said his order won’t bring the imposition of water-conservation mandates.
Gov. Gavin Newsom on Tuesday added his signature to a new law that orders the formation of a commission to study the feasibility of lithium extraction around the Salton Sea. Local politicians hope the commission will lead to the creation of a green economy around the state’s largest lake, which is a geothermal hotspot. It was one of several bills focused on California’s environment that Newsom dealt with this week.
At the end of July, Gov. Gavin Newsom released his revised plan for bringing long-term water security to all Californians. But his announcement was overshadowed by San Joaquin County and several Delta communities scrambling to confront the worst cases of toxic algae blooms ever seen on local sloughs and rivers.
These green, floating slicks brought a new level of criticism to Newsom’s agribusiness-friendly water proposal. That’s because the governor’s strategy relies in large part on the controversial Sites Reservoir proposal and the even more contentious Delta tunnel proposal. Conservation groups say both projects—particularly the tunnel—could worsen the problem of dangerous algae contamination in regional waterways.
Meanwhile, the state continues to spend large sums of money on both multibillion-dollar projects with little clarity on who will ultimately foot the bill as the COVID-19 pandemic drains evermore revenue from public agencies.
Water is a big deal in California, and climate change is threatening the precious resource. That’s why Gov. Gavin Newsom finalized a broad plan this week to help prevent future water challenges, but some Californians say it relies on old thinking and harmful water storage projects.
The Water Resilience Portfolio outlines 142 actions the state could take to build resilience as the effects of warming temperatures grow. It supports everything from a recent fund focused on safe and affordable drinking water to habitat restoration to improving groundwater storage capabilities.