The State Water Resources Control Board is set to consider adopting a resolution at their February 22nd board meeting that will further incorporate climate change considerations into water board actions.
The State Water Board adopted a similar resolution in 2007 outlining the actions staff should take to respond to climate change and support the implementation of the state’s 2006 landmark climate change legislation, AB 32. Since then, the State Water Board has taken on additional responsibilities, such as the addition of the Drinking Water Division, implementing the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, and the adoption of statewide drought response and conservation efforts. With these added responsibilities, the Board is in need of an updated resolution to set priorities and direct actions. The proposed resolution is intended to generate near-term actions that will manifest in potential changes to policies, permits, and plans.
In California, the water sector produces greenhouse gasses through the fossil fuel-based energy that is used to pump, convey, heat, and treat water. Mitigation can be achieved by reducing the energy intensity of the water sector by replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy, improving efficiency, and reducing water consumption, as well as other actions.
The proposed resolution acknowledges the climate change impacts, calling out those that impact water quality in particular. The resolution directs several specific actions for mitigating and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, improving ecosystem resilience, responding to climate change impacts, and using sound modeling and analysis, as well as other action to support implementation, provide education, and allow for public engagement. Those actions include coordinating with other agencies, specifying data reporting requirements, performing climate change impact assessments, and accounting for climate change stressors in future analyses and project planning. The resolution also directs State Water Board staff to incorporate plans and tools developed by other state and federal agencies into their work.
The State Water Board will consider adoption of the resolution at its regular board meeting on February 22, 2017.