Jim Peifer, Executive Director of the Regional Water Authority, which represents 20 water providers serving 2 million people in the Sacramento region, issued the following statement in response to today’s manual snow survey conducted at Phillips Station by the California Department of Water Resources.
“Today’s snow survey underscores the seriousness of the drought and the necessity for everyone to do their part to reduce water use, following their water provider’s guidelines.
“Although the Sacramento region can meet the near-term water supply needs of local residents and businesses due to decades of drought-resiliency investments, the American River watershed is part of a larger integrated, statewide water system that is under stress. Every drop conserved this year is a buffer against continued dry conditions in 2023.
“Local residents and businesses are asked to “Stress Your Lawn and Save Your Trees” by reducing sprinklers by two minutes each cycle while continuing to water your trees. In the Sacramento region, most daily water use goes on lawns and landscaping, especially as the weather gets warmer. About a third of landscape water is lost due to overwatering and evaporation. Although there are many ways to save water at home, conserving water outdoors can make the biggest difference of all. You can find information about efficiently watering trees, conservation tips, details about rebates and a regional map with watering guidelines at BeWaterSmart.info.
“In addition to conservation, local water providers are also planning to make operational changes to reduce reliance on our surface water resources. This includes shifting and sharing supplies as they did in 2021—shifting to using more groundwater and sharing supplies with agencies around the region. Last year, water providers used 30 percent more groundwater than in previous years, leaving more water available in rivers to sustain the environment.
“Over the long term, Sacramento-area water providers are continuing to work to create a drought- and climate-resilient system. Conservation alone cannot be our only response to the “boom and bust” water cycles that are intensifying with climate change. Because of climate change, water will arrive at different times and in different ways than it has historically. The future of the Sacramento region’s economy, environment and quality of life depend on building a modern, more adaptable water management system. This means we must increase our ability to store more water in an underground water bank.
“Local water managers have identified projects that will double the resilient supplies. To secure the funds necessary to invest in these planned projects, we look forward to continuing our work with our state and federal partners to address more extreme climate conditions in the future.”