Climate Change Makes the Case for Infrastructure Investment Now Rather Than Later

  • by Steve LaMar & Pamela Tobin
  • Apr 23, 2021
  • Voices on Water

It is neither a surprise that drought conditions in California are returning, nor a mystery how we can adapt for a future of dryer dry periods and wetter wet periods. After all, climate change is now a major factor in water management, and resilience has become the water community’s  one-word call to action. 

Today, that call to action speaks louder than ever. The latest snow survey results confirm a second consecutive dry winter, and the Department of Water Resources recently lowered its initial State Water Project allocation for the 2021 water year from 10% to 5% of requested supplies, while the Bureau of Reclamation has suspended deliveries altogether. This sobering development makes it abundantly clear that action must be taken now at the state and federal levels to invest in improving our aging water infrastructure. This is the only way we can realize a more reliable, resilient water supply for Californians, the food supply and the environment as climate change extremes grow more severe.

President Joe Biden’s recently unveiled $2 trillion infrastructure American Jobs Plan includes $111 billion for water infrastructure. This represents an encouraging start to addressing the pressing need for investments in water infrastructure, but more funding is necessary. Fulfilling this need should be a top priority for lawmakers from Western states, and from California’s delegation in particular. But federal investment isn’t the only answer.

For years, many elements within California’s water infrastructure network have remained long overdue for repairs and improvements, while at the same time a lack of financial resources is keeping many proposed projects on paper instead of under construction. We see this firsthand in each of our respective areas of the state, and it is true whether it’s coastal urban areas or rural Northern California and the Central Valley. Ignoring aging infrastructure or continuing gaps in funding represent the same outcome: missed opportunities to further strengthen water supply reliability and greatly enhance climate and water resilience throughout the state. 

While the pandemic eclipsed the Newsom Administration’s proposed $4.75 billion Climate Resilience Bond in 2020, two climate resilience bond proposals are currently moving through the Legislature. ACWA staff is actively advocating for amendments to those proposals to obtain needed state funding in the following areas: regional and inter-regional water resilience; groundwater and SGMA implementation; dam safety; recycling and desalination; flood protection and safe drinking water. Not only is water infrastructure funding key to meeting the state’s climate resilience goals, but it will help create jobs and stimulate local economies.

Even before climate change, California endured repeated droughts over time. With lessons learned, it is more important than ever to secure the necessary funds to prepare for droughts and floods. If climate resiliency is truly a top need in California, there is every reason why state and federal investment in water infrastructure deserves a place on the short list of effective ways to achieve it. 

ACWA member agencies possess the best experience in the world when it comes to continuously preparing for whatever conditions arise. Their ability to put this experience to work requires continuous, comprehensive planning and investments. This is how we maintain operational reliability and flexibility to respond to the extreme climate variability that defines our times.

Suggested Resources

15 RESOURCES prev next
Comment Letter: Conservation Agriculture Planning Grants Program RFP

Agency: California Department of Food and Agriculture Subject: 2021 Conservation Agriculture Planning Grants Program RFP Letter excerpt: The Association of California […]

Comment Letter: Draft Public Health Goals for PFAS

Agency: Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment Subject: Proposed Public Health Goals for perfluorooctanoic acid and perfluorooctane sulfonate Letter excerpt: […]

Comment Letter: Urban and Multibenefit Drought Relief Program

Agency: Department of Water Resources Subject: ACWA Comments – Urban and Multibenefit Drought Relief Program Letter excerpt: The Association of California […]

Comment Letter: Draft Groundwater Management and Drinking Water Well Principles and Strategies

Agency: Department of Water Resources Subject: Draft Groundwater Management and Drinking Water Well Principles and Strategies Letter excerpt: The Association of […]

Comment Letter: Senate Water and Power Subcommittee Hearing on Drought

To: Chair Wyden and Ranking Member Hyde-Smith Subject: ACWA Comments for Senate Water and Power Subcommittee Hearing on Drought in […]

Comment Letter: Forest Service Reconciliation

To: Speaker Pelosi, Majority Leader Schumer, Leader McCarthy, and Leader McConnell Letter excerpt: The Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA) […]

2021 Save Our Water Toolkit

Sorry, but only ACWA members have permission to view this content. Member login is required.

Comment Letter: Advanced Clean Fleets Regulation

Agency: California Air Resources Board Subject: :Association of California Water Agencies’ Comments on Draft Regulatory Language for the Advanced Clean […]

Webinar – ACWA’s Newest Preferred Provider: TerraVerde Energy

ACWA is pleased to announce TerraVerde Energy has been selected as ACWA’s Preferred Provider for energy consulting services. On September […]

Comment Letter: Draft Water and Wastewater Arrearage Payment Program Guidelines

Agency: State Water Resources Control Board Subject: : Comment Letter – Draft Water and Wastewater Arrearage Payment Program Guidelines Letter excerpt: […]

Federal Regulatory Issues Chart

Sorry, but only ACWA members have permission to view this content. Member login is required.

Webinar: Technology to Address Trends in Damage Prevention

On August 31, 2021 ACWA Associate PelicanCorp hosted a webinar on “Technology to Address Trends in Damage Prevention”. This webinar […]

2021 Water Professionals Appreciation Week Toolkit

Sorry, but only ACWA members have permission to view this content. Member login is required.

Comment Letter: Request for Budget Reconcilation

To: Speaker Pelosi, Majority Leader Schumer, Republican Leader McCarthy, and Minority Leader McConnell Letter excerpt: The Association of California Water Agencies […]

Comment Letter: Draft Fund Expenditure Plan for Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund

Agency: State Water Resources Control Board Subject: : Comment Letter – Draft Fund Expenditure Plan for the Safe and Affordable […]

Suggested News

15 Articles prev next
Groundbreaking Held for New $35 Million Wastewater Treatment Facility

Tuolumne Utilities District held a groundbreaking ceremony to celebrate the construction of the new Sonora Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility Project […]

Customers asked to “Step It Up” by decreasing outdoor watering

RIVERSIDE – In response to Governor Gavin Newsom’s proclamation issued on Tuesday, Oct. 19 to extend the drought emergency statewide […]

ACWA Members Testify Before House At Colorado River Drought Hearing

Washington, D.C. — The House Subcommittee on Water, Oceans, and Wildlife concluded an oversight hearing today on how drought is […]

Committee on Environment and Public Works Holds Hearing on EPA PFAS Efforts

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works today held a hearing to assess the Environmental Protection […]

Sacramento-Area Water Providers Celebrate 20 Years of RWA Collaboration

Twenty years ago, the Regional Water Authority emerged after a two-year process focused on creating a unified approach to regional […]

ACWA Announces Keynote Speaker, Program Details For Fall Conference

ACWA has announced that State Water Resources Control Board Vice Chair Dorene D’Adamo will be one of the keynote speakers […]

Gov. Newsom Expands Drought Proclamation Statewide

Gov. Newsom on Oct. 19 issued a proclamation that expands the state’s drought emergency statewide and urges Californians to increase […]

Conservation is the Key to Minimizing Monthly Bills and Local Water Supplies

Extended droughts broken up by rainy years are part of a natural cycle here in California. Our state is once […]

Roseville’s surface water treatment plant turns 50

In August 1971, the Barton Road Water Treatment Plant was officially dedicated to the Roseville community. It started treating, filtering, […]

Conserve-A-Palooza Returns with Giveaways and Partnerships

MONROVIA— Conserve-a-palooza has returned for a second year as the Upper San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District (Upper District) ramps […]

EPA Releases PFAS Pollution Roadmap

WASHINGTON, D.C. –The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today released a comprehensive strategic roadmap to address PFAS contamination. The PFAS Strategic […]

EMWD Hosts Weeklong Virtual Waterfest Open House

PERRIS — Eastern Municipal Water District (EMWD) this month is hosting a virtual Open House and invites its customers to […]

ACWA News Available for Oct. 15, 2021

Sorry, but only ACWA members have permission to view this content. Member login is required.

Fall Conference & Exhibition Offers Best of Both Worlds

You will not want to miss the 2021 ACWA Fall Conference & Exhibition in Pasadena Nov.30-Dec. 2 as an exciting […]

Spotlight Oct 2021: Agencies Innovate Ways to Connect With Youth and Cultivate Curiosity in Water Careers

A career in water seemed like a remote possibility for David Tapia after graduating from high school in 2015. He […]