2017 Water Leaders Class Releases Policy Recommendations for California’s Water Storage Future
The 2017 Water Leaders class organized by the Water Education Foundation completed its year with a report outlining policy recommendations for the future of water storage in California.
The class of 20 from various stakeholder groups and backgrounds that hailed from cities and towns across the state had full editorial control to chose recommendations. While they did not endorse a specific storage proposal, they recommended that California:
- Maintain and enhance existing systems and projects prior to considering new storage. Their report cited an estimated $13.1 billion deficit of deferred maintenance for Department of Water Resources facilities, according to the California Legislative Analyst’s Office.
- Maximize and capitalize on groundwater storage opportunities. Their report cited an estimate by DWR of about 143 million to 450 million acre-feet of usable groundwater storage.
- Make sure that storage systems are adaptable and have the flexibility to navigate changing conditions such as climate change. They cited conjunctive use as one example of building resiliency in water storage.
- Foster coordination and collaboration on water storage across agencies and stakeholders. They cited examples of Sites Project Authority and the Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority as ideal forms of collaboration because authority is defined and responsibility is spread among member agencies.
- Develop innovative systems to overcome major barriers that limit the availability of funding for life-cycle water storage costs. They cited constitutional limitations on the ability of local entities to raise revenues, which has created difficulties in maintaining existing infrastructure and funding new storage projects.
Click here to read their full report and executive summary.