Governor Gavin Newsom recently released the final version of the 2020 Water Resilience Portfolio to help guide California water policy moving forward. The initial draft proposal of the portfolio was announced back in January and now includes 14 new actions after receiving input from more than 200 individuals and organizations during the comment period. The water blueprint outlines 142 policy priorities for state agencies to emphasize.
“We were not disappointed with the Governor’s recent release of the 2020 version of the water resiliency portfolio,” said Mike Wade, Executive Director of the California Farm Water Coalition. “It looks like a comprehensive plan that takes into account the need for new storage, improved conveyance, capturing water when its wet, saving it for when its dry, and making some long-term investments in California’s water infrastructure.”
Of particular importance to the agriculture community, the 2020 Water Resilience Portfolio maintains an emphasis on cooperation between state agencies and industry stakeholders. The 140-page portfolio specifically points out that state agencies are to continue working to complete voluntary agreements for the Sacramento and San Joaquin river systems. “The governor does explicitly mention voluntary agreements and from our perspective, as it appeared in the portfolio, we’re optimistic and hopeful that that’s the direction that he’s taking the state and wants to make sure that we find those viable solutions for water users and the environment,” Wade noted.
Governor Newsom has acknowledged that the portfolio is intended to serve as an “aspirational document” and that the state’s financial situation will ultimately dictate “the pace of progress on the actions in the portfolio.” While the pandemic has commanded the attention of most state agencies, the release of the final version of the 2020 Water Resilience Portfolio appears to be a good sign that water issues remain a top priority. “It’s showing that these wheels need to continue moving forward and the governor is not standing still on water policy in the state. I think it’s a bold move and I think we’re headed the right way,” said Wade.