GUEST ARTICLE: Why the Sacramento region’s watershed is ‘super,’ and a buffer against climate change

By March 8, 2021News, News & Info

By Jeff Harris, council member for the city of Sacramento, and Bruce Houdesheldt, vice mayor of the city of Roseville. Both are board members of the Regional Water Authority.

The words “climate change” conjure up a variety of worries for each of us, and rightly so. But here in the Sacramento region, we’re working hard to shrink those worries by making the most of our watershed.

How is that possible? Because the Sacramento metro area is blessed to occupy a unique watershed. It is so unique, in fact, that we’ve coined a special term for it: We call it our Supershed.

The Sacramento region’s Supershed encompasses the American River watershed and portions of the Bear River and Cosumnes River watersheds. It extends from the Sierra Nevada crest, at nearly 8,000 feet, to the depths of the downstream groundwater basin, where a reservoir of fresh water-bearing soils extends 2,000 feet below our feet. A Supershed goes beyond a watershed in that it includes all of our water resources—from the lakes and rivers above ground to the groundwater below.

Thanks to this geography, the Sacramento region may be the only major metro area in California fortunate enough to obtain all its water from within its own watershed. Virtually every other metro area in the state depends on water imported from some other region.

This is an important distinction, because it endows leaders and thinkers in the Sacramento region with the ability to directly manage all their waters, as well as all the lands this water flows over, with a nature-based solution. As a result, we are uniquely positioned to manage our natural resources in cooperation with our State and Federal partners—to manage the droughts, fires and floods increasingly occurring as a result of climate change.

Read the full article as published on Maven’s Notebook here.

Learn more about the Sacramento region’s Supershed here.