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

Allen Summers Asmark Institute PSM Training
EmployeesAsmark Institute Sponsors 25 ResponsibleAg Auditor Training Scholarships
June 21, 2016
The Asmark Institute has announced plans to provide 25 scholarships through their affiliated State fertilizer and agrichemical associations to help encourage Read More
LegislationVilsack Christens WinField Crop Adventure, Talks Monsanto-Bayer, GMO-Labeling and TPP
June 17, 2016
The WinField Crop Adventure grand opening ceremonies at Fair Oaks Farms (near Winemac, IN) welcomed USDA Secretary of Agriculture Tom Read More
Crop InputsFields of the Future: WinField Doubles Down with Agri-Education Center Investment (w/Photo Gallery)
June 16, 2016
Land O’Lakes, Inc., joined by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, today will host Fields of the Future, a live broadcast about Read More
Trending Articles
Food IT
Industry NewsCalifornia Event Will Mix Ag And Tech Professionals To Explore IT Solutions
June 20, 2016
Silicon Valley is hot on agriculture, and an upcoming event in California will bring together the food and tech industries Read More
Monsanto Luling Plant
Eric SfiligojWhat’s Next For Monsanto?
May 31, 2016
For the folks at Monsanto’s headquarters in St. Louis, MO, it has been an eventful few weeks. Back on May Read More
Soybean Plant closeup
Industry NewsMonsanto Rejects Bayer Bid; Open To More Talks
May 25, 2016
Monsanto Co, the world’s largest seed company, turned down Bayer AG’s $62 billion acquisition bid as “incomplete and financially inadequate” Read More
Eric SfiligojPity The Monsanto Haters
May 23, 2016
An old saying goes thus: “Be careful what you wish for. You just might get it.” Given current events, there Read More
Monsanto Luling Plant
Crop InputsReport: Bayer Eyeing Monsanto For Possible Mega-Merger
May 16, 2016
Bayer AG is exploring a potential bid for U.S. competitor Monsanto Co. in a deal that would create the world’s Read More
Aerial Drone
Precision AgA Deeper Dive Into The Future Of Precision Ag
May 9, 2016
For about two decades now, through the good and the bad times, the ups and the downs inherent in agriculture, Read More
Latest News
Allen Summers Asmark Institute PSM Training
EmployeesAsmark Institute Sponsors 25 ResponsibleAg Auditor Trai…
June 21, 2016
The Asmark Institute has announced plans to provide 25 scholarships through their affiliated State fertilizer and agrichemical associations to help encourage Read More
Kennebec Elevator
CropLife 100Wheat Growers Celebrates Kennebec Elevator Grand Openin…
June 21, 2016
Over 250 patrons and guests were on hand to celebrate Wheat Growers’ Kennebec Elevator grand opening. South Dakota Secretary of Read More
Land O Lakes
Industry NewsLand O’Lakes To Acquire Ceres
June 20, 2016
Land O’ Lakes, Inc. and Ceres, Inc. have announced that they have signed a definitive merger agreement under which Land O’Lakes Read More
Food IT
Industry NewsCalifornia Event Will Mix Ag And Tech Professionals To …
June 20, 2016
Silicon Valley is hot on agriculture, and an upcoming event in California will bring together the food and tech industries Read More
LegislationVilsack Christens WinField Crop Adventure, Talks Monsan…
June 17, 2016
The WinField Crop Adventure grand opening ceremonies at Fair Oaks Farms (near Winemac, IN) welcomed USDA Secretary of Agriculture Tom Read More
Crop InputsFields of the Future: WinField Doubles Down with Agri-E…
June 16, 2016
Land O’Lakes, Inc., joined by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, today will host Fields of the Future, a live broadcast about Read More
Bayer sign
Crop InputsMonsanto Turns Back Bayer Again
June 14, 2016
Bayer AG’s bid to buy Monsanto Co. for more than $60 billion has hit an impasse that could pose a Read More
Young Corn Field
Crop NutritionNext Generation Of Nitrogen Efficiency Technology Conve…
June 13, 2016
Commodity price projections indicate farmers will continue to face tight margins again this year. Delivering higher yields and more bushels Read More
Industry NewsLa Crosse Seed Acquires Cover Crop Solutions Brand
June 10, 2016
La Crosse Seed announces that it is the new and exclusive owner of the entire family of brands of Cover Read More
ManagementTravel Plans and EU Rejection of Glyphosate, Biotech Cr…
June 9, 2016
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj talk about upcoming trips and the latest in the European Union’s moves against glyphosate Read More
Aspire with Boron
Crop InputsStudy: Aspire with Boron Ups Alfalfa Yields
June 8, 2016
Alfalfa growers are successfully improving yields through the cutting season by applying an important micronutrient. In a recent study, The Read More
Industry NewsAGCO Announces Tragic Death of Longtime Employee
June 8, 2016
It is with deepest regret that we announce the passing of our dear friend, colleague and customer advocate-in-chief Kevin W. Read More
Wheat Field North Dakota
Industry NewsBASF Inks Northern Seed for Clearfield Wheat R&D Li…
June 6, 2016
BASF has licensed Northern Seed LLC to perform research and development of BASF’s proprietary and patented Clearfield technology in wheat. Read More
ManagementBayer/Monsanto, EU/Glyphosate, Corn/Soybeans
June 2, 2016
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj discuss the latest regarding industry mergers, the glyphosate debate in Europe, and an update Read More
Growers looking at soybeans
Industry NewsKoch Licenses 2 Marrone Products For North American Dis…
June 2, 2016
Koch Agronomic Services (Koch), with support from its affiliate, Koch Biological Solutions, has secured exclusive rights to sell REGALIA Rx Read More
Gypsum
Industry NewsBeneficial Reuse Management Launches GYPSOIL BLENDABLE
June 2, 2016
Beneficial Reuse Management (BRM) has introduced GYPSOIL BLENDABLE, a new high-quality pelleted gypsum fertilizer that supplies 17% sulfate sulfur and Read More
StewardshipAgrible Joins Field To Market To Pursue Sustainable Sou…
June 1, 2016
Agrible, Inc. has joined Field to Market: The Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture as an associate member. As a leading multi-stakeholder Read More