Voices on Water Blog

Is 2017 the Year for Water Policy Breakthrough?

As the water community gathers in Anaheim next week for ACWA’s 2016 Fall Conference & Exhibition, change will be a prominent theme.

From the transition to a new federal administration to developments on key policy issues, I expect plenty of lively dialog as we take stock of the uncertainties, challenges and opportunities ahead in 2017.

Don’t Lose Sight of the Real Goal: Drought Preparedness and Efficiency

You don’t have to look hard for proof that Californians are making permanent changes to the way they use water. In communities up and down the state, turf removal is a common sight as homeowners say goodbye to lawns and hello to water-wise landscapes.

Aided by hundreds of millions of dollars in rebates offered by local agencies, urban water customers are taking concrete action outdoors as well as changing out toilets and appliances indoors. These actions translate into meaningful water use reductions that can be sustained into the future.

Region 5 Agricultural Tour – A Farm to Table Experience

By David T. Hodgin

Chair, ACWA Region 5

ACWA Region 5 co-hosted an agricultural program and tour with Byron Bethany Irrigation District (BBID) on Sept. 18 & 19. The program highlighted local agriculture within BBID’s service district and offered attendees  a first-hand look at farming operations, irrigation management, and the delicious agriculture products from the region.


Flow Proposal Points to Need for Comprehensive Approach

Since 2009, the hallmark of California water policy has been a commitment to the coequal goals of improving both water supply reliability and ecosystem health. While this commitment remains as vital today as it was in 2009, recent actions suggest we’re due for a refresher course on what it really means.


ACWA Region 1 Hosts Russian River Water Supply System Tour

By ACWA Region 1 Chair Dennis Mayo

ACWA Region 1 hosted a Russian River Water System Supply Tour on August 5. The tour, which included visits at Lake Mendocino and the Lake Sonoma area, attracted a group of nearly 50 participants.


Historically Low San Luis Reservoir Highlights Broken Water System

If you need a sign that the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta is broken, look no further than San Luis Reservoir. Despite near-average precipitation this year and healthy storage in other north state reservoirs, San Luis is so precipitously low that deliveries were nearly shutoff in early August.

Meanwhile Shasta Lake, the state’s largest reservoir, sits at 109% of its historic average for the date.

What’s wrong with this picture? In a nutshell, we have a water system that is broken from a physical and policy standpoint.


“Stress Test” Results Are a Good News Story

On Tuesday, the State Water Resources Control Board released the first month of conservation data under new state rules that emphasize drought preparedness and local discretion regarding conservation activities. Not surprisingly, the data demonstrates that Californians are making a habit of using water efficiently both indoors and outdoors.


New Strategy on Delta Smelt a Step in the Right Direction

Over the past few months, California water has seen its share of policy shifts. This month brought a development that many hope will set us on a course to better manage aquatic resources with a comprehensive set of tools.

With the release of the Delta Smelt Resiliency Strategy, state and federal agencies have outlined a comprehensive plan that centers on more than just pumping restrictions in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. ACWA and its member agencies have advocated for such a strategy for the better part of two decades.

Threading the Needle on Conservation Messaging this Year

Thanks in large part to a unified effort by the water community, the State Water Resources Control Board adopted a new approach to urban conservation this year. The board’s action on May 18 moved us away from a policy that had the wrong metric of success (meeting arbitrary targets) to an approach that incentivizes further investments in local drought-resilient supplies.


Senate Bill Presents Opportunity to Redefine Federal, State Relationship on Water

Since passage of historic water legislation in 2009, the core tenet of California water policy is managing for the coequal goals of improving both water supply reliability and ecosystem health.

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