Peter Mayer, an engineer who consults on demand management, also tweeted on June 11, 2022
I just spent 10 days in California and water providers are worried. No one has experienced dryness like this in our lifetimes and it’s not clear if the public really understands the gravity yet. https://t.co/5y3diaqDQL
California’s $97 billion budget surplus has also created major opportunities for climate adaptation. California Senate has proposed transformative investments in their Water and Drought Package, including the following:
• $2 billion to rebalance state water supply and water rights.
– $1.5 billion for new CA Water Trust to acquire lands with senior water rights from willing sellers.
– $500 million to Dept. of Conservation for acquisition and repurposing of lands to implement the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act.
• $1.5 billion to ensure all Californians have safe drinking water.
• $1.5 billion for improving watershed climate resilience regionally.
• $1.5 billion Drought Resilient Water Supply grants, to assist with recycling, stormwater capture, and groundwater cleanup.
• $1 billion for Flood Management and Dam Safety grants to improve resilience of flood management system and fund public benefit portion of dam safety projects.
Investing $1.5 billion in recycling, stormwater capture, and groundwater cleanup would be a major shift towards sustainability. The proposal to acquire senior water rights from willing sellers is innovative and could potentially reduce conflicts from reduced runoff in watersheds. Karrigan Bork et. al. at the UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences wrote an excellent, timely, science-based analysis of the proposal.
We joined a coalition of river, fishing and progressive groups to express support for the senior water rights buyback proposal in concept, but with requests for specific language in the budget trailer bill, reflecting similar concerns to those in the Center for Watershed Sciences analysis. The Senate analysis explicitly states that the proposal is intended to be instead of funding the Governor’s proposal for the controversial voluntary agreements.
The legislature passed the FY 2022-23 budget bill, SB 154, on June 13, 2022 and sent it to the Governor’s desk. The bill includes $21 billion for a climate and energy package. Allocations across categories in the climate and engery package, including drought, flood, wildfire, and energy, are currently under negotiation.
Börk, K., Rypel, A., Yarnell, S., Willis, A., Moyle, P. B., Medellín-Azuara, J., Lund, J., and Lusardi, R. 2022. Considerations for Developing an Environmental Water Right in California. California WaterBlog. June 12, 2022.
California Senate Committee on Budget and Fiscal Review, Subcommittee on Senate Budget Subcommittee on Resources, Environmental Protection and Energy. 2022. May 10, 2022 Agenda. p 5-10.
California Sportfishing Protection Alliance, California Water Research, Friends of the River, Northridge Indivisible, South Yuba River Citizens League. 2022. Letter Re: Senate Climate Budget Proposal on Water and Drought – Support with Amendments. June 6, 2022.
Lund, J. 2021. Dollars and Drought – Windfalls for innovation or entrenchment? California WaterBlog. May 23, 2021.
Otto, I. M., Donges, J. F., Cremades, R., Bhowmik, A., Hewitt, R. J., Lucht, W., Rockström, J., Allerberger, F., McCaffrey, M., Doe, S.S.P., Lenferna, A., Morán, N., van Vuuren, D. P., and Schellnhuber, H. P. 2020. Social tipping dynamics for stabilizing Earth’s climate by 2050. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Jan 21, 2020.