Tim Quinn's blog

When it Comes to Drought Readiness, 2016 is a Far Cry from 1991

In January 1991, local water managers were bracing for a fifth year of drought. Key reservoirs were at just 50% of historic average and steep cutbacks were announced for both the State Water Project (SWP) and the Central Valley Project (CVP).

Proposed Emergency Urban Water Conservation Regulation Framework’s “No Stacking Rule” Could Undermine Regional Water Planning

On Dec. 21, State Water Resources Control Board staff lifted the curtain a bit and shared their initial thinking on what could be in store for emergency drought regulation in 2016. While the draft framework for the next version of the emergency urban conservation regulation provides a cursory nod to the notion that local conditions should be accounted for in the state’s drought plan, the proposal turns a blind eye to the sea change that has occurred in 21st century water management in California. We can do better.


Let’s Get the Right Approach to Drought Response in 2016

There is no question that California is in a drought of epic proportions. By now, the statistics are well known: driest sequence of water years in a millennium; lowest April 1 snowpack in 600 years; hottest temperatures on record.

In early 2015, there was broad agreement that we faced a drought emergency that required statewide action. The State Water Resources Control Board – at the direction of Gov. Jerry Brown – responded by implementing the first-ever mandatory statewide reductions in urban water use.

Drought Shows Value of Investments, Need for Statewide Solutions

The latest conservation figures from the State Water Resources Control Board show Californians are continuing to heed the call to cut back on outdoor watering this summer.

In addition to letting their lawns go “California golden” and taking shorter showers, Californians are signaling their interest in making permanent changes to the way they use water indoors and outdoors. ACWA member agencies report a surge in interest in turf rebates, water-wise house calls and incentives to install water-efficient appliances and fixtures in place of thirstier models.

Proposition 1 is Part of a Favorable Evolution in California Water Policy

In just a few days, Californians will cast their votes on Proposition 1, the $7.545 billion water bond on the Nov. 4 ballot.

The product of more than five years of discussions and negotiations, Proposition 1 represents what could be a major turning point in California water. If approved by voters, the measure would jumpstart investments in the comprehensive, statewide water plan we need for our future. In short, it would advance an “all-of-the-above” strategy that includes everything from local resources development to water storage to safe drinking water.

Groundwater Package is Latest Example of Confronting Tough Issues

ACWA and its member agencies have a long history of leadership when it comes to confronting big changes in the way we manage water resources in California. Comprehensive groundwater legislation currently awaiting the governor’s signature is the latest example.

Few issues are as complex and controversial as groundwater, and the three-bill package that won final approval in the Legislature Aug. 29 is without question one of the most complicated and difficult set of policy reforms this generation of water managers has attempted to pursue.

What Do Lady Gaga and the State Board Have in Common? They Both Want You to Save Water

The State Water Resources Control Board took the unprecedented step yesterday of ordering mandatory conservation measures to address California’s deepening drought. Less than 24 hours later, pop star Lady Gaga released a public service announcement urging Californians to save water.

Ultra-Low Folsom Lake Underscores Power of 2014 Drought

I had a chance to hike down to Folsom Lake on Martin Luther King Jr. Day under sunny skies and a daytime high temperature of about 68 degrees. My wife and I were curious to witness what thousands of people have been trekking out to see as the shrinking lake reveals acre after acre of dry lake bed and even the remnants of a long-submerged Gold Rush-era town. We stood there by a tree stumped more than half a century ago when the lake was filled, a stump that this time of year should be 100 feet under water.

Looking Back at a Busy 2013

With the year nearly over, it’s a good time to look back at what was a busy and productive 2013 for ACWA. Above all, our members once again came together to foster agreement on some of the state’s most complex water issues, choosing to build consensus rather than focusing on differences.

ACWA Board Sends Powerful Message with Statewide Water Action Plan

Last month, the ACWA Board of Directors voted unanimously and enthusiastically to approve a Statewide Water Action Plan (SWAP) for California. The vote capped an intensive five-month effort convened by ACWA with the goal of crafting a specific plan that could be broadly supported by water interests and serve as a sustainable path forward for California.

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