News Worth Noting: DWR white paper: Water available for groundwater replenishment; LAO handout: Prop 1 Statewide Commitments; CA Water Alliance on water and the marijuana initiative
DWR White paper: Water Available for Groundwater Replenishment
The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) directs DWR to prepare and publish a report on water available for replenishment of groundwater in California by December 31, 2016.
SGMA stakeholder and advisory groups have provided input to DWR that will help guide the content and scope of the Water Available for Replenishment (WAFR) Report to be published by the end of 2016. In the interim, DWR has drafted a White Paper that describes the technical and policy foundations as well as the proposed WAFR report content.
For more information, please visit DWR’s Water Available for Groundwater Replenishment webpage.
Hearing handout: Prop 1 Statewide Commitments
It was prepared by the Legislative Analyst’s Office and presented to the Assembly Budget Subcommittee No. 3 on Resources and Transportation.
California Water Alliance on water and the marijuana initiative
In a fifth drought year, with nearly a million acres of farmland fallowed, tens of thousands of jobs lost, and continuing mandatory state farm water rationing for Northern, Central and Southern California’s urban centers, we have questions with respect to water supply needs that may result from the “Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana” initiative, slated for the November 8, 2016 ballot. (http://www.water.ca.gov/swpao/docs/notices/16-05.pdf)
“California’s ongoing water crisis continues to stress our reservoirs and groundwater basins and has led to mandatory water cuts and higher water rates for all, even fines for some Californians,” said Aubrey Bettencourt, executive director of the California Water Alliance. “We must address our chronic problems stemming from aging water infrastructure, increasing population and changing climate. Already water for both cities and farms has been dramatically cut due to limited supply and regulatory redistribution of water. Legalizing marijuana and adding a commercial growing industry on the scale projected by proponents, without first updating our water regulations and infrastructure to ensure a reliable supply to growers, may stress our already fragile water supply system to the failing point.”
In a parallel announcement to the allocation of State Water Project water, this month the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation announced that California growers south of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta would receive a five percent water allocation for 2016, following zero percent allocations for the previous two years. (http://www.usbr.gov/mp/cvp-water/)
“Even with the El Niño rains, 91% percent of California remains in moderate to exceptional drought, and over half the state still suffers exceptional drought. A shortage of clean, safe water for drinking and bathing has created Third World living conditions for thousands of California families, has inconvenienced tens of thousands more and caused household water bills to skyrocket for millions,” said Bettencourt. “Like any crop, it takes a significant water investment to grow marijuana commercially. The proponents of this marijuana initiative, need to provide an honest assessment of our water supply system to help ensure that Californians, food producers, fish, habitat, wildlife and others, including this new industry, have access to the water they need for survival and to cover our people’s basic needs.”
The last large reservoir built in California was New Melones, in Calaveras County. It opened in 1978; since that time California has grown by 40% to 39 million people. Despite passage of $27.1 billion in water bond funding since 2000, not a single new water storage facility has been approved for construction. Over a third of that money went for ecosystem enhancement, not new water supplies. Today 50% of developed water deliveries are dedicated to government environmental protection, 40% to food & fiber production, and 10% to urban uses.
“Our inattention updating how we manage water for a 21st century economy and failure to build new water infrastructure are hidden hazards on the road to California’s future,” says Bettencourt. “Expanding California’s economy – in any area – requires identifying new sources of water to meet new and changing demands. As with nearly everything it grows, California farmers will likely lead the world in sustainable production should commercial marijuana growing be allowed, but only if there is water with which to grow it. We need to have our priorities straight. It’s time for something to be done about changing Sacramento’s and Washington’s views of our path forward with respect to water.”
About the California Water Alliance
The California Water Alliance is a statewide nonprofit organization dedicated to raising awareness about the nature of water and promoting long-term, sustainable solutions that meet the health and security needs of families, cities, businesses, farmers and the environment. To learn more, visit www.CaliforniaWaterAlliance.org
Sign up for daily emails and get all the Notebook’s aggregated and original water news content delivered to your email box by 9AM. Breaking news alerts, too. Sign me up!
About News Worth Noting: News Worth Noting is a collection of press releases, media statements, and other materials produced by federal, state, and local government agencies, water agencies, and academic institutions, as well as non-profit and advocacy organizations. News Worth Noting also includes relevant legislator statements and environmental policy and legal analyses that are publicly released by law firms. If your agency or organization has an item you would like included here, please email it to Maven.