Understanding California’s water balance sheet—how much there is, who has claims to it, and what is actually being “spent”—is key to effectively managing the state’s limited water supply in support of a healthy economy and environment. The latest drought has spotlighted serious gaps and fragmentation in California’s water accounting system. …
In this report, we identify gaps in California’s water information systems. We recommend that the state adopt an overarching goal of modernizing its water accounting, and that key state agencies—supported by an oversight committee of key stakeholders and independent experts—develop and adopt a common accounting framework. We outline a dozen priority actions to strengthen water accounting by: improving measurements and estimates of water availability and use; firming up legal claims on water rights and water reserved for the environment; establishing protocols, standards, and models for transparent water accounting at all levels across the state; and making water information more available and accessible to water managers, water users, policymakers, and the public.
These reforms will help California to tackle some of its most pressing water management challenges: allocating surface water efficiently and fairly in times of shortage, managing depleted and threatened groundwater reserves, stewarding the state’s fragile river and wetland ecosystems, and expanding opportunities for water trading—a key tool for reducing the costs of shortages.
UC Riverside researchers to study health impacts of drought
From the University of California-Riverside:
Drought and extreme temperatures continue to challenge policymakers in California and globally who grapple with managing limited water resources. Missing from these discussions, however, is the potential impact of drought on public health and how water policy might assuage or exacerbate such impacts, should they exist.
Researchers at the University of California, Riverside School of Public Policy have been awarded $284,680 by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Evidence for Action Program to determine whether drought and adverse weather conditions cause health problems, and whether water policy affects the link between extreme temperatures and health. The research will focus on California, but is relevant to many regions of the United States and the world that also suffer from drought, aridity, and water scarcity.
“When drought strikes, water policy often dictates where and to what degree water supply deliveries are curtailed. Water policymakers seek and regularly receive evidence that is relevant to diverse sectors including agriculture, the environment and municipal needs, but rarely health,” explained Kurt Schwabe, professor of environmental economics and policy and principal investigator on the project. “One reason for this neglect is that policymakers have not had evidence for action about the connections among drought and extreme temperature, water policy and health.”
Notice of Funding Availability Household & Small Water System Drought Assistance Program (HSWSDA)
From the State Water Resources Control Board:
The State Water Resources Control Board has authorized $5 million to assist individual households and small water systems to address drought-related drinking water emergencies. Funds are administered by three non-profit organizations (see below). Funding is available as low-interest loans and/or grants based on recipients income and affordability.
Eligible recipients are individual households (homeowners) and small water systems serving less than 15 connections. Eligible projects include, but not limited to: new well construction, design costs of necessary infrastructure, permit and connection fees, well rehabilitation/repair (including extending wells to deeper aquifers), distribution/conveyance pipelines (up to point of entry of household), limited consolidation efforts (i.e. laterals, above-ground interties), and all necessary appurtenances, etc.
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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.