Last Thursday, SCWC held its 31st Annual Dinner at the Sheraton Universal Hotel in Universal City. The Annual Dinner has emerged as Southern California’s premier event for leaders in water, business, local government, agriculture and more. This year, the event had over 300 guests in attendance and was an enormous success thanks to everyone who came out in support of our organization.
NBC4 Southern California Weathercaster Fritz Coleman served as keynote speaker and gave his insights on El Niño and what is in store for the region. In his remarks, Coleman emphasized that although there is a greater than 50 percent chance of having a wetter winter this year, it is not enough to pull California out of the drought. He also described one positive aspect of the historic drought: educating people. Now more than ever, Californians are more tuned into critical water issues and the drought is a top concern among voters. Coleman, also renowned for his sense of humor, infused fun into the evening with his one liners, “California is not a state, it’s an Acts of God theme park.”
SCWC also honored Felicia Marcus, chair of the State Water Resources Control Board, with this year’s Hon. Harriett Wieder Water Leadership Award. Thanks to Chair Marcus and the Board leading the way, California has reduced water consumption by nearly 30 percent from June 2015 through August 2015. Chair Marcus commended California for making strides in water conservation during the drought and described how the drought has become a part of our culture, stating that “conservation is a California way of life.”
Many thanks to all of our sponsors, including to our presenting sponsors Cadiz, Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, MWH and Parsons! Through their generosity, our sponsors have helped SCWC make strides in its efforts to educate Californians about critical water issues and water conservation.
SCWC Opposes Cortopassi Initiative & Joins ‘Citizens to Protect California Infrastructure’
At the SCWC Board of Directors meeting, the Board elected to oppose the Cortopassi Initiative, which would make any revenue bonds for public works involving the state have to go to a public vote. The proposed initiative threatens to disrupt infrastructure development, jobs and the state’s economy.
In the same vein, SCWC recently joined the Citizens to Protect California Infrastructure (CPCI), a coalition formed in opposition of the Cortopassi Initiative. The coalition is comprised of business and labor groups, including the California Chamber of Commerce and the State Building and Construction Trades Council. The growing coalition released a press release on Monday reaffirming its opposition in response to an article in the Sacramento Bee, announcing the initiative’s qualification for the November 2016 ballot.
The Sacramento Bee article, “Measure that imperils Delta tunnels plan qualifies for 2016 ballot” by Jim Miller, states the initiatives would “erect a significant political hurdle” for Governor Brown’s twin tunnels project.
In the press release, CPCI identified key problems with the initiative:
- Erodes local control
- Disrupts vital infrastructure development
- Jeopardizes our ability to fix infrastructure after a natural disaster
- Added costs, bureaucracy and delays
Click here to see what other coalition members are saying and to read the press release in full.
Governor Brown Issues Statement as CA WaterFix Comment Period Closes
The public comment period for the California WaterFix concluded last Friday, October 30. The comment period allowed thousands of residents to express support for the project and urgency to move it forward. Governor Brown issued the following statement on the close of the comment period:
“The Delta pipeline is essential to completing the California Water Project and protecting fish and water quality. Without this fix, San Joaquin farms, Silicon Valley and other vital centers of the California economy will suffer devastating losses in their water supply. Claims to the contrary are false, shameful and do a profound disservice to California’s future.”
Mark Cowin, Director of the California Department of Water Resources, and David Murillo, Regional Director, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation also issued a joint statement thanking those who submitted comments and emphasized the need to move forward with the project:
”Wide consensus exists that the Delta is in crisis. This year, in the midst of an historic drought, state biologists tallied the lowest level ever recorded in a survey of Delta smelt, which serves as an indicator of the ecological health of the estuary. Water deliveries to two-thirds of the state’s population face disruption. Sea level rise and warmer storms – effects of climate change – make the status quo untenable. Californians have long debated whether and how to change the water diversion system in the Delta that was built half a century ago, under a different public mindset and far weaker environmental protection laws. Today’s milestone moves us closer to a modernization of this critical infrastructure.”
For more information on the plan, visit www.californiawaterfix.com.
CA Exceeds Conservation Mandate for Fourth Consecutive Month
The State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) reported Californians reduced water use by 26 percent in September, meeting Governor Brown’s conservation mandate for a fourth consecutive month. The cumulative statewide savings rate from June through September was 28.1 percent. This puts the state at 65 percent of the overall goal of saving 1.2 million acre-feet by February 2016.
Residents are urged to keep up conservation efforts through the winter months and comply with urban water suppliers’ instructions to switch to fall watering schedules of once a week as well as the ban against watering when it rains and 48 hours directly following it.
“Millions of Californians have saved water during the summer months, which are the four most critical months to save water,” said Felicia Marcus, chair of the State Water Resources Control Board. “This is important and wonderful, and we are thankful for all of the effort by individuals and agencies. Now, we need to keep it up as best we can, even as we hope for as much rain and snow as we can safely handle. We’re in the position of having to prepare for drought and flooding at the same time, but that’s what we’re faced with.”
To view the SWRCB press release, click here.
Lawn Dude’s Conservation Column: Lay off the Sauce
Hello water peeps, Lawn Dude here. This week, I’m here to discuss fall. And no, not falling in love, I’m talking about the season! This fall we all need to lay off the sauce – water, that is. The leaves are turning brown, and your lawn should be as well. Even though Southern California’s version of fall is…unique, we will see plenty of rain. And with El Niño on the way, I believe a couple of reminders are in order.
If I do say so myself, Southern Californians are champs when it comes to water conservation, and we need to keep it up. Take a page from the Dude and follow these two simple steps this fall to keep up the good work:
- Water your lawns only once a week
- Don’t water your lawn when it’s raining or 48 hours after it rains
Check out Save Our Water for more tips on how you can save our precious H2O.
And duh – follow me @Lawn_Dude on Twitter!
Established in 1984, the Southern California Water Committee is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, public education partnership dedicated to informing Southern Californians about our water needs and our state’s water resources. Spanning Los Angeles, Orange, San Diego, San Bernardino, Imperial, Riverside, Ventura and Kern Counties, the SCWC’s members include representatives from business, government, labor, agriculture, water agencies and the general public.