As the third year of drought continues, the California authorities are stepping up pressure on additional water conservation.
Last week, the State Water Resources Regulatory Authority imposed a statewide ban on irrigation of “non-grass” grasses around commercial buildings and directed local water agencies to implement water use restrictions.
“California is in a state of drought and every local water agency and California residents need to step up their security efforts,” Governor Gavin Newsom said in a statement.
Although the official Balliho, last week’s actions were far stronger than the short cuts made by Newsom’s former Jerry Brown during the previous drought.
Nusso seems to be reluctant to run for re-election, saying that California residents will not be able to irrigate their lawn as much as they would like. He prefers to leave it to the local water authorities.
However, no matter how they are designed, the new guidelines are more likely to have a small impact on California’s ever-increasing water shortages because residential use is relatively low in water equity. California’s largest agricultural industry benefits from a well-developed and managed water supply.
The big question is whether the state is doing anything to address the long-term gap between water supply and water demand when climate change changes. Conservation is especially helpful for efficient use of agricultural water, but we need more storage for wet years, such as long-delayed site storage.
Newcom’s latest budget proposal calls for greater investment in water safety, but much of the money goes to small-scale projects along the coast. He proposes an additional half a billion dollars for water storage by investing billions of dollars more on the state’s unplanned and unmanaged bullet train project.
If we are serious about dealing with semi-permanent droughts, the most important – and most controversial – step is to reconsider how much resources will be allocated to support endangered species such as salmon among farmers, urban consumers and migrants.
Essentially, such a comprehensive approach – to begin with, more or less clear paper – would require a new perspective on the complex water rights of the state.
People who hold such rights are considered sacred. But the drought is so severe that even high-ranking activists are feeling the effects, according to Rachel Baker, author of Cal Matters.
The reconsideration of water rights seems to be gaining momentum in water policy clubs.
A water policy paper issued by the state Senate this month recommended that the state purchase rights from agricultural landowners as part of a $ 7.5 billion plan to build more climate-friendly water for housing improvements.
As the state water board stepped up for more protection last week, a coalition of Indian tribes and environmental groups called for more aggression in enforcing water quality standards in Sacramento-San Joaquin delta and enforcing those standards. . ”
The question refers to the fact that in the 19th century, white settlers’ history of allocating water supply to Indigenous peoples could be restructured according to the state constitution, and that only “rational use” was legal.
The Board of Trustees was considering such direct action as the Newcoms administration tried to create so-called “voluntary agreements” that would divert more water from agriculture to improve river flows.
About the author
Dan Walters has been a journalist for over 60 years, with the exception of a few, all of whom have worked in California newspapers. He started his professional career in 1960 at the age of 16 at the Humbolt Times. For more columns by Walter, go to calmatters.org/commentary.