Governor Gavin Newsom unveiled a new water strategy for California to address drought conditions created by extreme weather patterns. The plan outlined in California’s Water Supply Strategy, Adapting to a Hotter, Drier Future places an emphasis on water capture, recycling, desalination, and conservation. Several agricultural groups have commended the announcement, describing it as an important step for stabilizing California’s water supplies.
“Today’s announcement provides the support necessary for additional above and below ground storage, water recycling, and critically needed infrastructure. We need the ability to better capture wet year water, convey it, and store it for dry years,” California Citrus Mutual President and CEO, Casey Creamer said in a press release. “Governor Newsom is clearly working towards a comprehensive strategy that recognizes the changing climate conditions our farmers are facing in the Golden State.”
The plan calls for the creation of additional storage of up to four million acre-feet of water. Much of the actions in the new document complement efforts outlined in 2020’s Water Resilience Portfolio. The water strategy seeks to improve the process for the planning, permitting, and construction of water projects. Western Growers President and CEO Dave Puglia described the plan as “bold and comprehensive,” highlighting the dire situation farmers are facing due to water insecurity.
“The Governor’s plan recognizes the urgent need to build new and improve existing infrastructure and to streamline and improve the practicality of the regulatory processes that govern them,” Puglia noted. “Critically, that means new and expanded surface and groundwater storage to capture wet year flood flows that are too infrequent to be missed.”
Other priorities outlined in the water strategy include the annual recycling and reuse of 800,000 acre-feet of water by 2030 and freeing up 500,000 acre-feet of water through more efficient water use and conservation. Additional ag groups such as the California Fresh Fruit Association, Grower-Shipper Association, and Almond Alliance of California also expressed support for Newsom’s announcement.