New California Law Amends Water Supply Planning Laws
Water Supply Sufficiency Analyses Must Consider Groundwater Sustainability
From Best Best & Krieger:
Gov. Jerry Brown has signed Senate Bill 1262 into law, representing an initial attempt to incorporate groundwater management requirements under the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act into two of California’s water supply planning laws. SB 1262 amends Water Code section 10910 of the Water Supply Assessment statute (commonly referred to as “SB 610”) and Government Code section 66473.7 of the Written Verification statute (commonly referred to as “SB 221”). While SB 1262 begins to address the relationship between California’s water supply planning laws, many questions remain unanswered.
Both Water Supply Assessments and Written Verifications apply to certain types of development projects. Each requires a specific analysis of whether sufficient water supplies will be available to serve a proposed project in addition to existing and planned future uses. Among other things, SB 1262 amends the WSA and WV statutes to require those water supply analyses to consider the most recently adopted Groundwater Sustainability Plan prepared under SGMA if the water supply for a proposed project includes groundwater from a basin designated as medium- or high-priority.
Governor Brown Signs Law Recognizing Forest Watersheds as Part of State’s Water System
Source watersheds will now be acknowledged as infrastructure
From Pacific Forest Trust: Governor Jerry Brown took a significant step today to preserve and maintain the key sources of the state’s water supply. With his signature, Assembly Bill 2480 became law, requiring recognition of source watersheds – especially those that feed Shasta and Oroville reservoirs – as water system infrastructure and a critical component of California’s water system.
These “source” watersheds provide the vast majority of the water for the State Water Project and Central Valley Project, supplying drinking water for over 28 million people, and providing irrigation for over 8 million of acres of farmland as well as 85% of the freshwater to San Francisco Bay. Those watersheds feeding the Oroville and Shasta reservoirs are predicted to remain wetter and cooler than other parts of the state as climate change continues, making them even more vital for our water security.
“The health of the land that surrounds California’s rivers, lakes and streams is critical to a clean and reliable water supply,” said Laurie Wayburn, President of Pacific Forest Trust, who sponsored the bill. “Regrettably, these lands have been degraded due to development, drought and other impacts of climate change, imperiling water security for millions of Californians.”
Currently, California has policies and systems in place that maintain built water infrastructure such as dams, levees, and canals, but until now the state has had no mechanism for ensuring the function of natural water infrastructure, which is essential to providing clean, plentiful water. Watershed restoration and conservation can increase water quality and quantity, as well as improve flow regulation, both reducing peak flooding and holding water later into summer seasons.
“This law will make sure that the source of our water is treated just like other basic infrastructure that Californians depend on, such as roads, dams and power supplies,” said Wayburn. “We can now move forward on putting a comprehensive system in place to restore and conserve these landscapes that are so critical to a safe and secure water supply.”
The Pacific Institute Names Jason Morrison as President
Long Track Record of Success in Advancing Water Sustainability
From the Pacific Institute:
The Pacific Institute is pleased to announce Jason Morrison as its new president, effective October 1. After a national search, the Institute’s board of directors unanimously selected Morrison for his extensive experience nationally and internationally with water and sustainability issues, a track record as a nonprofit organization manager and leader, and his long commitment, success, and vision working with the Institute for the past 23 years.
Morrison has had many roles within the Institute, including directing the organization’s work with businesses to enhance their water stewardship activities where they operate and in their supply chains. He also serves as the Head of the CEO Water Mandate, an initiative of the United Nations Global Compact that supports and mobilizes business leaders in their water and sanitation stewardship efforts.
“On behalf of the board of directors of the Pacific Institute, I am delighted to welcome Jason Morrison as the new president,” said Board Chair Robert Stephens. “His depth of knowledge on the issues the Institute has tackled for 30 years is unsurpassed. Indeed, he has been a key thought leader in advancing new and innovative ideas for the use and management of water.”
Imagine H2O 2017 Water Policy Challenge
Apply by November 7, 2016
Data is essential to help California’s farmers, businesses and communities monitor and manage water resources more effectively. Promising data solutions exist—but policy barriers prevent their adoption in municipal, agricultural and industrial markets. Imagine H2O’s 2017 California Water Policy Challenge will identify and support innovative policy proposals that accelerate the development and deployment of data-driven water solutions.
Register at www.imagineh2o.org/policy to receive the complete application materials.
Submissions are welcome from academia, NGOs, the private sector and government.
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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.