A report was released recently detailing the first 18 months of implementing the Water Resilience Portfolio. An Executive Order from Governor Gavin Newsom in 2019 called for the development of a comprehensive plan to address water challenges in California. The California Natural Resources Agency, California Environmental Protection Agency, and California Department of Food and Agriculture were tasked with developing the water policy guidelines.
“We’ve made solid progress building drought and flood resilience across the state in the last 18 months,” Secretary for Natural Resources Wade Crowfoot said in a press release. “At the same time, accelerating climate change has driven weather whiplash, worsening drought and flood threats in real-time. Recognizing this urgency, we have to deploy historic funding provided by the Governor and Legislature quickly and effectively, in partnership with local and regional partners. Every part of California has unique water supplies, environmental conditions, user needs, and vulnerabilities. There are no one-size-fits-all solutions to our water challenges, and the portfolio recognizes that.”
The progress report provides a status update on the 142 separate initiatives that comprise the overall Water Resilience Portfolio. Actions are outlined by what agency oversees a particular aspect, and what phase the project is currently in. Priorities laid out in the portfolio have been supported by $5.2 billion in funding investments made possible through the previous state budget. The latest proposed budget from Governor Newsom lays out an additional $750 million in water resilience investments. California Agriculture Secretary Karen Ross said continued investment in water resilience, particularly in areas of storage and deliver, is critical for preparing for future water needs.
“California built its major water delivery systems nearly a century ago based on precipitation patterns that are changing as average global temperatures warm,” said Secretary Ross. “We need to know what to expect, and we need flexible, well-functioning infrastructure to respond.”