Governor Gavin Newsom has issued another flood-related executive order to address impacts in the Central Valley. Runoff forecasts and flood models indicate that flood conditions in the area will likely persist. The latest action will extend flood diversion flexibilities enacted for the Tulare Lake Basin, to the San Joaquin River Basin. “With flooding impacts expected to continue into the summer, California is committed to supporting robust preparation, response and recovery efforts in this hard-hit region, and to using floodwaters to recharge our critical groundwater supplies where it’s safe to do so,” Newsom said in a press release.
The move follows a previous flood-related order issued back in March, allowing for more water diversion, debris removal, and levee repairs. Snowmelt coming from the Sierra Nevada may put the San Joaquin River Basin at risk, prompting an extension to flexibilities already afforded in Tulare Lake. Flood diversion requirements and groundwater recharge parameters are refined in the latest order to help protect water quality and infrastructure in the Central Valley. “We’ll continue working with local partners to protect lives and livelihoods on the ground while advancing investments to protect communities throughout the state from future flooding,” Newsom explained.
Parameters of the latest action also include diverting water into the Kern River Intertie which connects to the State Water Project system through the California Aqueduct. The diversions come at the request of the Kern River Watermaster. Through the order, excess amounts of water will be taken from the Kern River which could otherwise contribute to additional flooding of the Tulare Lake Basin.
Additionally, the Newsom Administration is pursuing flood-related legislation to help the state address potential issues in the future. The legislation seeks to codify clear parameters for floodwater diversions to use in groundwater recharge that was part of the March 10 executive order.