10 Key Recommendations For California’s Drought Resilience

Though the full story of Califorinia’s drought continues to unfold, the effects are being felt across many sectors of the state, according to the Association of California Water Agencies’ (ACWA) “2014 Drought Impacts And Strategies For Resilience.” California’s $44.7 billion agricultural economy is facing significant impacts, while ripple effects are extending to everything from ports to equipment dealers to the landscape industry.

As historic dry conditions emerged in January of this year, the Association of California Water Agencies established a Drought Action Group to share information and develop recommendations to address the current drought and prepare for future dry times. The Drought Action Group, composed of 40 water community experts from throughout the state, compiled information on drought impacts around California and identified future vulnerabilities if dry conditions continue in 2015 and beyond.

This report summarizes that information as a snapshot in time and describes significant drought impacts across the areas of agriculture, wildlife protection, ecosystems, commercial industries and trade. It also identifies 2015 vulnerabilities and recommends strategies and priority actions to address this and future droughts.

Overall, the report finds the current drought has exposed key vulnerabilities in California’s water management system that must be addressed now if we are to avoid facing even more dire challenges in 10, 15 or 20 years. A variety of strategies and actions must be pursued to improve the resilience of the state’s water supply system, including investments in backbone water storage and conveyance infrastructure. These investments must be made as part of a comprehensive plan that includes expanded water conservation, water recycling, storm water capture and reuse, local and regional water storage, groundwater management and other strategies to ensure water supply reliability and ecosystem health in California.

As summer gets under way and agencies begin to prepare for 2015, the water community urges state and federal agencies to take action in partnership with local agencies to put California on a path to resilience.

Even if California receives above-average rainfall next winter, vulnerabilities exposed by this drought must be addressed. The work simply must begin today.

Following are the 10 key recommendations identified by ACWA’s Drought Action Group:

  1. State and federal agencies should facilitate construction of shovel-ready water infrastructure projects by providing funding and technical assistance as soon as possible.
  2. Consistent with ACWA’s Recommendations for Achieving Groundwater Sustainability, the Department of Water Resources (DWR) and the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) should identify ways to reduce impediments and provide funding and technical assistance for projects that create new surface and groundwater storage and improve conveyance around the state to help address the state’s groundwater challenges.
  3. State and federal agencies should continue to move toward using real-time data for operational decisions to allow for greater flexibility and efficiency in getting water to the state’s economy. Examples include using flexibility under existing law to maximize water supplies from the Delta while remaining consistent with species protection requirements; maintaining a one-to-one ratio in April and May for water transfers and exchanges involving the San Joaquin River; monitoring turbidity to allow for increased water deliveries while avoiding jeopardy to adult Delta smelt due to entrainment at state and federal pumping plants; and accelerating review of temporary barrier and operable gates to help manage salinity and improve water quality in the Delta.
  4. The state should work with stakeholders and explore opportunities to further streamline transfers including additional collaboration with the federal government and a careful review of the recent report from the Streamline Our Agency Regulations (SOAR) Water Transfers Action Team.
  5. The state should facilitate and/or expedite regulations or permitting processes that encourage innovative technologies including water recycling and desalination.
  6. The state should work with local agencies to review opportunities for more closely coordinating planning documents in drought conditions. The state also should facilitate long-term solutions for agencies that indicate sustainability concerns in the applicable water management plans.
  7. The state and federal government should provide funding and technical support in partnership with local agencies to develop long-term water infrastructure projects that will help ensure reliable water supplies for both the economy and the environment.
  8. The state and federal government should disburse funding approved through state drought emergency legislation passed earlier this year and other federal programs so projects can move forward and assist impacted communities. The state and federal government also should work to ensure additional funding is available, including through a 2014 water bond, for projects and programs that will improve California’s aging water infrastructure and further the coequal goals.
  9. The state should acknowledge that local water systems are best equipped to determine which water conservation programs are most effective for their customers. In addition, the state should provide funding for water use efficiency activities in disadvantaged communities and support programs that are not locally cost effective but contribute broad benefits to California.
  10. The state should review its overall 2014 drought response and look for opportunities to improve coordination in future dry conditions or other extreme weather events.
Topics:

Leave a Reply

Management Stories

ManagementTrip Report, PSM R.I.P, and Ag’s Reaction to Federal Budget
May 25, 2017
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj talk about their recent travels, the end for Process Safety Management (PSM), and how Read More
Corn soil
LegislationARA Member Testifies Before Senate Ag Committee
May 25, 2017
Agricultural retailers stand on the front-lines of the American economy. As trusted advisors to America’s farmers, ag retailers are uniquely Read More
ManagementFarm Market iD’s Agriculture Database Now Covers More Than One Billion Acres
May 25, 2017
Farm Market iD, farmmarketid.com, has announced the release of its 2017 Annual Update of its farm and land database. The Read More
ManagementPrecision Planting Deal, China Developments, and Environmental Respect
May 18, 2017
Editors Eric Sfiligoj and Dan Jacobs discuss the latest news on John Deere’s now dead deal for Precision Planting, China’s Read More
Trending Articles
Migrant farm workers
LegislationTrump: Immigration Crackdown Won’t Impact U.S. Agriculture
May 16, 2017
President Donald Trump said he would seek to keep his tough immigration enforcement policies from harming the U.S. farm industry Read More
AGCO Ratliff featured
Eric SfiligojRemembering Robert Ratliff
May 15, 2017
With all the fast-paced happenings in agriculture this spring, with multiple mergers in the works and planting season in full Read More
Case sprayer nozzle closeup
EquipmentSpray Application: A Nozzle Renaissance
May 2, 2017
If you had asked four-decade ag veteran Mark Bartel, President of Wilger Inc., just a few years ago what lay Read More
ManagementWashington Update, Dow-DuPont Earnings, and the Passing of an AGCO Legend
April 27, 2017
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj talk about the latest Beltway news, crop protection company 1st quarter numbers, and the Read More
Crop InputsFlying Under the Radar No More, FMC Goes Big
April 13, 2017
Describing FMC as “under the radar,” admittedly, is probably a stretch. But in a snap of the fingers, FMC upped Read More
Young Corn Plants
Crop NutritionStill Hunting Yields
April 1, 2017
There’s no denying it — the agricultural marketplace today is undergoing a fundamental shift in fortunes. Not too many years Read More
Latest News
ManagementTrip Report, PSM R.I.P, and Ag’s Reaction to Federal Bu…
May 25, 2017
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj talk about their recent travels, the end for Process Safety Management (PSM), and how Read More
Corn soil
LegislationARA Member Testifies Before Senate Ag Committee
May 25, 2017
Agricultural retailers stand on the front-lines of the American economy. As trusted advisors to America’s farmers, ag retailers are uniquely Read More
Young corn plants in soil
Crop InputsFortenza Insecticide Seed Treatment Receives EPA Regist…
May 25, 2017
Fortenza seed treatment insecticide from Syngenta has received registration approval from the U.S. EPA for use on corn and cotton Read More
ManagementFarm Market iD’s Agriculture Database Now Covers More T…
May 25, 2017
Farm Market iD, farmmarketid.com, has announced the release of its 2017 Annual Update of its farm and land database. The Read More
Food IT Fork-to-Farm
Precision AgThe Mixing Bowl Event Connects Technology, Food, and Ag…
May 24, 2017
For the fourth consecutive year, The Mixing Bowl presents FOOD IT, under the theme “Fork to Farm.” Action-oriented entrepreneurs, industry Read More
Photo credit: The United Soybean Board/The Soybean Checkoff.
Seed/BiotechKansas State University Researchers Find New Pathogens …
May 24, 2017
A single seed seems so simple. Put it in the ground, give it some care, and you’ve soon grown food. Read More
Soybean Field
HerbicidesNew Dicamba Herbicide Premix Coming Soon from Syngenta
May 24, 2017
Syngenta has announced the name of its new herbicide featuring the active ingredients of S-metolachlor and dicamba. Upon registration by Read More
Eric SfiligojMonsanto ‘Picks Its Battles’ by Nixing Deere Deal
May 23, 2017
Having been in the trade journalism game since the mid-1980s, I remember several watershed moments during my career. One of Read More
FungicidesSyngenta Launches New Seed Treatment Fungicide
May 22, 2017
Syngenta has announced the launch of PLENARIS seed treatment fungicide for the control of downy mildew in sunflower. PLENARIS contains Read More
Corn close up
Crop InputsMonsanto’s First HPPD Herbicide Garners EPA Appro…
May 19, 2017
Monsanto announced today that EPA has federally approved Harness MAX Herbicide, the first herbicide in the Monsanto portfolio to provide Read More
ManagementPrecision Planting Deal, China Developments, and Enviro…
May 18, 2017
Editors Eric Sfiligoj and Dan Jacobs discuss the latest news on John Deere’s now dead deal for Precision Planting, China’s Read More
Soybean aphid leaf
InsecticidesMulti-state Research Reveals IPM Best Option for Treatm…
May 17, 2017
About 89.5 million acres of soybeans will be planted across the U.S. in 2017 — a record high, according to Read More
GROWMARK-2017-Interns
CropLife 100GROWMARK Names 2017 Summer Interns
May 16, 2017
Forty-two college students are exploring agricultural career opportunities this summer as GROWMARK interns. They are working at FS member cooperatives Read More
Migrant farm workers
LegislationTrump: Immigration Crackdown Won’t Impact U.S. Ag…
May 16, 2017
President Donald Trump said he would seek to keep his tough immigration enforcement policies from harming the U.S. farm industry Read More
Flooded corn in Indiana
FertilizerBoth Wet and Dry Conditions Threaten Nitrogen Loss
May 15, 2017
The weather is notoriously unpredictable, leading to challenges for planting, harvesting and applying the nitrogen (N) your corn crop needs. Read More
farmer Kip Tom
Precision AgAg Tech: On the Cusp of Something Big?
May 15, 2017
The investment and ag-tech sectors’ continuing courtship of agriculture, smoldering for three or four years now, was well in evidence at Read More
AGCO Ratliff featured
Eric SfiligojRemembering Robert Ratliff
May 15, 2017
With all the fast-paced happenings in agriculture this spring, with multiple mergers in the works and planting season in full Read More
Greg Musson, Gar Tootelian
ManagementOpinion: Shaking Your Perspective in Ag Retail
May 12, 2017
Some of you I’m sure have encountered our recently retired salesman extraordinaire, Dan Bellanger. He worked in the industry for Read More