More than 20 agricultural organizations are calling for a more targeted approach to improving water supply availability. In a letter addressed to Governor Gavin Newsom, the business leaders point out that existing water protocols and infrastructure already fall short of meeting water needs. Failure to establish a clear target for addressing surface water supplies moving forward will have significant consequences, the coalition notes.
“The lack of water supply is harming business operations, jeopardizing jobs, causing food disruptions and disincentivizing investments in California,” the letter states. “Our state has set goals for carbon emission reductions, renewable power, waste diversion, land conservation and other climate-related objectives. However, we still do not have a goal to grow the water supply. In fact, our current strategy is precisely the opposite: To keep shrinking surface water supplies available for human consumption and expect homes and businesses to do more with less. As a result, we are merely managing economic decline.”
A copy of the letter was also sent to members of the California State Legislature, as well as the California Department of Food and Agriculture, California Natural Resources Agency, and the California Environmental Protection Agency. The coalition expresses disappointment in the state budget that is being considered for its “misplaced priorities in the face of the water supply crisis.” At a time when California is fortunate to have a substantial budget surplus, there is ample opportunity to make lasting change in the state’s hydrology.
Signatories of the letter include the California Fresh Fruit Association, Western Agricultural Processors Association, Western Growers, and the California Association of Winegrape Growers. The groups emphasize the need to incorporate new water storage, conveyance infrastructure, efficiency measures, and all other options available in developing water plans for the future. Devastating impacts could be seen with food security, energy reliability, and even the housing market without a clear plan of action to address current and future water supply needs.