REACTIONS: Organizations and water agencies react to Governor Newsom’s Water Resilience Plan

Yesterday, Governor Newsom signed an Executive Order directing the Secretaries of Natural Resources, California Department of Food and Ag, and Cal EPA to prepare a Water Resilience Plan that will create a water system to the water needs of California’s communities, economy, and the environment into the future.

Here’s what organizations had to say:

(If I receive additional statements, I will post them here.)

From the Association of California Water Agencies:

ACWA Executive Director Dave Eggerton issued the following statement in response to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s Executive Order directing his administration to develop a broad portfolio of collaborative strategies with local water agencies and other stakeholders for greater water supply resiliency.

“ACWA is encouraged by the governor’s collaborative and comprehensive approach to California’s water issues that builds upon the foundation of the 2016 California Water Action Plan, a policy framework that ACWA fundamentally helped shape through its own comprehensive planning efforts.

“We are especially encouraged to see support for Voluntary Agreements for the Sacramento and San Joaquin river systems, investment in innovation and new technologies, healthier forested watersheds, and an emphasis on strengthening partnerships with local water managers.

“The success of the governor’s plan for water resiliency hinges on effective water management at the local level and ACWA’s member agencies look forward to working with the Administration to accomplish our shared goals.”

From Maurice Hall at the Environmental Defense Fund:

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order today that directs the secretaries of the California Natural Resources Agency, California Environmental Protection Agency and the California Department of Food and Agriculture to identify and assess a suite of complementary actions to build a climate-resilient water system.

“In a state as diverse as California, it’s inevitable that our water challenges will be complicated, especially with the extra stress of climate change. We are pleased water is a top priority for Gov. Newsom and that he recognizes multiple strategies are required to create a secure water future in the face of climate change and a growing population.

“We agree a portfolio approach that balances diverse needs is the most promising path toward building a more resilient water system in California. EDF looks forward to working with Gov. Newsom and state agencies on developing a suite of approaches to bring California water management into the 21st century. No single solution is the answer to sustainably managing water, one of our state’s most precious resources, to ensure the health of our people, economy and wildlife.”

  • Maurice Hall, Associate VP, Ecosystems – Water, Environmental Defense Fund

From the Kern County Water Agency:

Yesterday, Governor Newsom announced that his administration will develop a Water Resilience Portfolio to ensure California’s economy and environment are prepared for the future and capable of addressing the effects of climate change.   The Kern County Water Agency (Agency) supports the effort to develop a Water Resiliency Portfolio and will work with the Newsom administration to develop this new approach.  “We believe the governor’s new approach will result in the kind of water system improvements necessary to bring California’s aging water infrastructure into the 21st century,” said Agency Board of Directors President Ted Page.

Kern County depends on California’s State Water Project for a significant amount of the water supplies necessary to make it one of the top food producing counties in the nation and a driving force in meeting America’s demand for a safe and affordable food supply.  The farming families that accept that challenge rely on water from the State Water Project.  Governor Newsom’s announcement shows that California and Kern County will continue to meet the nation’s demand for safe, affordable food.

The governor’s Water Resiliency Portfolio includes a one-tunnel delta conveyance project that will modernize the SWP.  The Agency supported the Bay Delta Conservation Plan and the California Water Fix since their inception in 2006 and continues to be actively engaged in efforts to finance a delta conveyance project.  “Kern County’s water supplies from the State Water Project are affected by increased regulation, the threat of earthquakes, and climate change,” said Page.  “The Governor’s efforts to address California’s aging water supply system through a comprehensive portfolio approach that includes a one-tunnel delta conveyance project sets us on the right path.”

Managing California’s water supplies is complicated because multiple problems must be solved at the same time.  The best way to address them is by integrating many different solutions.  The governor’s comprehensive portfolio approach does just that by focusing on water conservation to stretch existing water supplies, recycled water to stretch urban water supplies, delta conveyance to protect against earthquakes and climate change while maintaining protections for fish, and surface and groundwater reservoirs to store new water that would otherwise run to the ocean during wet months when it provides little or no benefit to fish or to people.

“We look forward to the governor’s new and aggressive approach to solving California’s increasingly difficult water supply problems.  The farmers in Kern County have worked hard for decades to implement local water conservation and manage groundwater storage projects.  Our goal is to supplement our work in Kern County with a new Delta conveyance project that supports those local investments,” said Page.

Governor Gavin Newsom announced his support for California WaterFix by streamlining the project into a “one-tunnel” design.  The one-tunnel approach creates significant opportunities for protecting the Delta environment, improving California’s water supply reliability and minimizing the effects of the project on Delta communities.

“We have supported a one-tunnel approach in the past and continue to believe it has the ability to meet the needs of Kern County, while protecting fish in the Delta.  We look forward to working with the governor to move California WaterFix forward,” added Page.

For more information about California WaterFix, visit:

From Kate Poole at the Natural Resources Defense Council:

California has long been a leader in battling the causes of climate change. Today, Governor Newsom takes the helm of leadership in another critical battle:  preparing California for the inevitable impacts of a changing climate on California’s water resources.

Water is where many Californians experience the impacts of climate change. Our most recent drought broke records for its severity, and the response to drought led to drinking water wells for entire communities drying up, massive mortality of native fish and wildlife, farmers’ fields lying fallow, and reduced water supplies for urban communities across the state. Climate scientists tell us to expect more intense and frequent droughts in the future.

Click here to continue reading at the NRDC.

From the Northern California Water Association:

The Northern California Water Association (NCWA) appreciates Governor Newsom’s call for a fresh approach to California’s water challenges and his Executive Order today urging his administration “to think differently and act boldly by developing a comprehensive strategy to build a climate-resilient water system in California.”

“The future prosperity of our communities and the health of our environment depend on tackling current pressing water challenges while positioning California to meet broad water needs through the 21st century.”

We share the Governor’s stated desire for a fresh approach when it comes to meeting California’s massive water challenges and the importance of a meaningful water resilience portfolio.

Continue reading at the NCWA blog by clicking here.

From the Regional Water Authority:

The Regional Water Authority, which represents more than two dozen water providers and affiliates in the greater Sacramento region, issued the following statement regarding the executive order by Governor Gavin Newsom directing three state agencies to develop a comprehensive strategy to build a climate-resilient water system and ensure healthy waterways through the 21st century.

We applaud what Governor Newsom sets forth in his executive order. It is a step in the right direction for building a portfolio of solutions to address the projected effects of climate change on California’s water supplies and environment.

We are especially pleased that his administration will place a premium on encouraging regional approaches for building resilience and strengthening partnerships with local water agencies. We also appreciate that the order also calls for integrating investments, policies and programs across state government, which we believe has been a significant barrier to achieving resilient water supplies in the past.

In line with the Governor’s goal of preparing a water resilience portfolio that ensures adequate and safe water supplies for communities and the environment, Sacramento-area water managers have been committed for decades to implementing sustainable water management practices to balance our water supply needs and the environmental health of the lower American River through the region’s landmark Water Forum Agreement.

The region’s current planning effort integrates multiple benefits for water supply, the environment, flood protection and climate adaptation that embodies the resilience portfolio the Governor’s order seeks to achieve. For example, water managers are developing a regional water bank to store more water in the groundwater basin during wet years, so that it is available when needed. We are also working with regional flood managers to find opportunities to divert flood flows for groundwater recharge, and we are working with other local stakeholders to identify opportunities for capturing and storing storm water. The stored groundwater will provide critical water supplies in dry periods, so that precious surface water resources are maintained for regional environmental benefit. With the region’s location north of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, there are potential opportunities to collaborate and develop solutions that benefit the environment and communities downstream after these local needs are met.

In addition, the region is working closely with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation on a watershed-scale study that looks at the impacts of climate change on snowpack and runoff, and how that relates to reservoir operations and groundwater sustainability. That study will result in the identification of innovative adaptation measures to ensure the future prosperity of the region.

We look forward to continuing our work to improve the region’s resilience in a future with climate change and to continuing collaboration with our state and federal government partners.

About the Regional Water Authority: RWA is a joint powers authority representing 21 member and five associate member agencies in portions of Sacramento, Placer, El Dorado, Yolo and Sutter counties. Formed in 2001, its primary mission is to help its members protect and enhance the reliability, availability, affordability and quality of water resources.

From Barbara Barrigan-Parilla from Restore the Delta:

“We support a portfolio approach to solving California’s water challenges. We will collaborate and participate in all processes, and keep the public notified of our findings. Naturally, as Delta people we don’t care for tunnels, but we look forward to engaging in an honest and transparent public process the helps move us towards the co-equal goals of the Delta Reform Act of 2009.”

From the Honorable Bo Mazzetti, Chairman, President of the San Luis Rey Indian Water Authority:

“The San Luis Rey Indian Water Authority welcomes the opportunity to partner with the State of California in furtherance of government to government relationship building and formal consultation on the development of the Water Resilience Portfolio.

We view this an opportunity to opening the dialogue between Tribal- State- and local partnerships.  Tribes are interested in long range sustainability and opportunities to explore how the state and Tribes can develop and invest in storage projects on Tribal lands, on inter-tribal water banking agreements and wheeling agreements that would benefit both the Tribes and local water agencies.

In addition, we look forward to the Governor’s Office and the Natural Resources Agency committing to several seats on a Tribal advisory body to ensure that Tribal interests, including sharing Tribal ecological knowledge and Indigenous management practices are included in the future climate change discussions and priorities of the portfolio advisory board.”

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