By Charles Wilson
While the first steps are often the hardest to make, they rouse the momentum to propel us through the challenges of the future. 2019 marked an important year for California water, as first steps were made toward water supply reliability and infrastructure modernization. As we enter a new year and new decade, where a great deal of the focus will be on what has yet to be done, it is worthwhile to remember all that has already been accomplished to launch that momentum.
In 2019, the Southern California Water Coalition worked closely with state and regional officials to address many issues of water challenges. One of the best pieces of water news this year was the announcement by Governor Gavin Newsom, directing state agencies to develop a comprehensive strategy called the Water Resilience Portfolio to meet future water needs and ensure the state’s environmental and economic resilience in light of climate change. The SCWC has long advocated for an “all-of-the-above” approach to water supply for the state — one that includes conservation, local supply development, storage, conveyance improvements, watershed management and groundwater management. We applaud Governor Newsom’s efforts to continue the momentum of building a comprehensive Water Resilience Portfolio for the state, as well as his announcement of support of the critical need for Delta Conveyance.
Southern California leads the state in its adoption of a portfolio approach to increasing regional water supply resilience in light of climate change. Our diverse water supply, our years of experience managing groundwater basins well, and our region’s major commitments to stormwater capture and reuse set us ahead of the curve in achieving many of the goals set out in the Water Resilience Portfolio. The only thing standing in our way? The need to modernize the state’s water infrastructure to ensure the continued reliability of the State Water Project supplies that provide the base for all other regional resiliency measures. With the beginning of the environmental review process for this important infrastructure now underway, we shall continue our education and advocacy for the modern pipeline that is critical to our region’s economy and reliable water future.
Collaborative, solution-oriented efforts like the Water Resilience Portfolio are the path to the future. The year’s brightest water successes speak to the value and effectiveness of this approach: a sweeping agreement among seven states on how to manage Colorado River water supplies during dry years and a historic statewide funding solution to help disadvantaged communities access safe drinking water. Inclusive partnerships such as this bring fresh perspectives which lead to innovative solutions to challenges.
The momentum from these 2019 highlights will propel us into our future endeavors. The SCWC has an imperative duty as the knowledgeable voice for all of Southern California on water issues. Looking ahead at 2020, the SCWC looks forward to the first year in a fresh decade of “all of the above” approaches to solve the state’s water problems. By continuing to employ multiple solutions to water supply reliability, our accomplishments in 2019 have surely set in motion a path toward water resiliency and a sustainable state.
For more about our accomplishments in 2019 and what to expect for 2020, check out the Southern California Water Coalition Annual Report for 2019 HERE.