Rosa Villegas woke up at two in the morning on a late August Monday to make her way to the lettuce fields in California’s south Salinas Valley, where she was scheduled to start bagging heads of romaine at 4 a.m. The sky overhead wasn’t its usual dark, star-dotted self as she walked to her car. Instead, it glowed a sickly red, colored by the fires burning on the flanks of the Santa Lucia mountains, just a few miles west.
California has adopted new laws, set new policies and allocated significant funding (through voter-approved water bonds) that encourages regional groups to address the state’s numerous water challenges. New programs are encouraging regional water agencies, stormwater districts, resource managers and environmental organizations to work together to find “integrated” approaches to manage water.