A Resolution of the Regional Water Authority Regarding Extreme Drought Conditions in 2021

By August 6, 2021Advocacy, Policy Statements

RESOLUTION 2021-03

A Resolution of the Regional Water Authority Regarding Extreme Drought Conditions in 2021

WHEREAS, the Regional Water Authority’s (RWA) mission includes protecting and enhancing the reliability, availability, affordability, and quality of water resources; and

WHEREAS, on May 10, 2021, the Governor issued a proclamation of a State of Emergency to mitigate the effects of drought conditions in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Watershed counties including El Dorado, Placer, Sacramento, Sutter, and Yolo counties; and

WHEREAS, on May 13, 2021, the RWA Board adopted Resolution 2021-01, which called for the consideration of actions that would result in reduction of surface water diversions from the American River watershed to protect the environment of the lower American River and to preserve local water supplies should dry conditions persist; and

WHEREAS, the actions of RWA Resolution 2021-01 called for voluntary reductions of water use by 10 percent, shifting diversions from the lower American River to the Sacramento River, and/or shifting from using surface water to groundwater as a supply source as part of the region’s plan for sustainability; and

WHEREAS, the projected inflow from upstream sources into waterways and surface storage has been less than projected and has resulted in less water in reservoirs than anticipated; and

WHEREAS, high air temperatures and dry conditions have further created additional water temperature stress on lower American River ecosystems; and

WHEREAS, Folsom Reservoir, being a primary source of water for several RWA member agencies in the region, is vulnerable to worsening drought conditions; and

WHEREAS, hydrologic conditions leading into water year 2022 are uncertain, in which continued dry conditions may lead to water shortages and extreme stress to fisheries; and

WHEREAS, shifting to groundwater during this year’s drought, while encouraged, should also be managed carefully to ensure adequate water supplies for our communities in the event that water year 2022 is also dry; and

WHEREAS, RWA member agencies have taken steps since RWA Resolution 2021-01 to voluntarily conserve between 10 and 20 percent, shift to alternate water sources, share water resources throughout the region, and make releases to support the fishery of the lower American River; and

WHEREAS, on July 8, 2021, the Governor issued an Executive Order calling for voluntary conservation efforts of 15 percent by all Californians by taking commonsense measures with both indoor and outdoor water use; and

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, RWA immediately calls upon on its member agencies to consider actions that will result in further reductions in surface water diversions from the American River watershed to protect the environment of the lower American River and to preserve local water supplies should dry conditions persist.  These actions include asking customers to voluntarily reduce their water use by a minimum of 15 percent, and may consider additional shifting from using surface water to groundwater, where feasible, as a supply source as part of the region’s plan for sustainability; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, RWA acknowledges that individual member agencies may encourage additional conservation and RWA will support those agencies; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, all other prior actions from RWA Resolution 2021-01 shall remain in full effect.

PASSED AND ADOPTED at a meeting of the Authority held on July 15, 2021.