2019 Water Leaders Class Releases Policy Recommendations for Reducing Wildfire Impacts on Water
The 2019 Water Leaders class organized by the Water Education Foundation completed its year with a report outlining policy recommendations for better managing the increasing risks of wildfire and impacts on water supply and quality.
The class of 23 from various stakeholder groups and backgrounds who hailed from cities and towns across California had full editorial control to choose recommendations.
Among their key recommendations:
- Create a legislative strike force to develop long-term funding policies and mechanisms to support projects that restore forest and watershed health and reduce wildfire risk.
- Require each Integrated Regional Water Management (IRWM) region across California to address wildfire and water-related impacts in their IRWM plan and develop regional projects to prioritize for future implementation.
- Require CAL FIRE to collaborate with regional water quality control boards and California Department of Fish and Wildlife on long-term planning and development of region-specific requirements for moderate size tree-thinning projects.
- Modify the fuel reduction timber harvest exemption to allow projects to be larger than 300 acres and thin more areas like shaded fuel breaks and ridgelines to protect and enhance watersheds and water quality and reduce wildfire risk.
- Revise air quality regulations to allow adequate testing of emergency backup generators for critical water systems.
- Develop a public awareness campaign to help people understand that although wildfires may be miles away, their drinking water could be affected for years to come.
Click here to read their full report.