The Regional Water Authority, which represents more than two dozen water providers and affiliates in the greater Sacramento region, issued the following statement regarding the executive order from Governor Gavin Newsom directing three state agencies to develop a comprehensive strategy to build a climate-resilient water system and ensure healthy waterways through the 21st century.
We applaud what Governor Newsom sets forth in his executive order. It is a step in the right direction for building a portfolio of solutions to address the projected effects of climate change on California’s water supplies and environment.
We are especially pleased that his administration will place a premium on encouraging regional approaches for building resilience and strengthening partnerships with local water agencies. We also appreciate that the order also calls for integrating investments, policies and programs across state government, which we believe has been a significant barrier to achieving resilient water supplies in the past.
In line with the Governor’s goal of preparing a water resilience portfolio that ensures adequate and safe water supplies for communities and the environment, Sacramento-area water managers have been committed for decades to implementing sustainable water management practices to balance our water supply needs and the environmental health of the lower American River through the region’s landmark Water Forum Agreement.
The region’s current planning effort integrates multiple benefits for water supply, the environment, flood protection and climate adaptation that embodies the resilience portfolio the Governor’s order seeks to achieve. For example, water managers are developing a regional water bank to store more water in the groundwater basin during wet years, so that it is available when needed. We are also working with regional flood managers to find opportunities to divert flood flows for groundwater recharge, and we are working with other local stakeholders to identify opportunities for capturing and storing storm water. The stored groundwater will provide critical water supplies in dry periods, so that precious surface water resources are maintained for regional environmental benefit. With the region’s location north of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, there are potential opportunities to collaborate and develop solutions that benefit the environment and communities downstream after these local needs are met.
In addition, the region is working closely with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation on a watershed-scale study that looks at the impacts of climate change on snowpack and runoff, and how that relates to reservoir operations and groundwater sustainability. That study will result in the identification of innovative adaptation measures to ensure the future prosperity of the region.
We look forward to continuing our work to improve the region’s resilience in a future with climate change and to continuing collaboration with our state and federal government partners.
About the Regional Water Authority: RWA is a joint powers authority representing 21 member and five associate member agencies in portions of Sacramento, Placer, El Dorado, Yolo and Sutter counties. Formed in 2001, its primary mission is to help its members protect and enhance the reliability, availability, affordability and quality of water resources.