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
Bay-Delta Plan Revised Draft Initial Biological Goals

Agency: State Water Resources Control Board Subject: Comment Letter – Bay-Delta Plan Revised Draft Initial Biological Goals Letter excerpt: The […]

SB 222 (Dodd) Floor Alert

Assembly Floor Alert Subject: SB 222 State Water Rate Assistance Program Oppose Unless Amended Letter excerpt: SB 222 would require […]

Updated PFAS Toolkit

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

Proposed Revisions to State’s Capacity Development Strategy for Public Drinking Water Systems

Agency: State Water Resources Control Board Subject: Proposed Revisions to the State’s Capacity Development Strategy for Public Drinking Water Systems […]

Forest Health CEQA and NEPA Streamlining Trailer Bill Language – Support

To: The Honorable Toni Atkins and The Honorable Anthony Rendon Subject: Forest Health CEQA and NEPA Streamlining Trailer Bill Language […]

Quench California Toolkit

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

Regulatory Roundup

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

Inflation Reduction Act of 2022

To: Senator Feinstein and Senator Padilla Subject: Support for Forest Health Investments, Inclusion of Drought Action, and other Climate Measures […]

Reconciliation Package Letter – Drought

To: The Honorable Charles Schumer and Joseph Manchin Subject: Reconciliation Package Letter – Drought Letter excerpt: Many regions in the Western […]

Program Waiver of Buy America, Build America Act, 2021 for State Revolving Fund Projects

Agency: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Subject: Program Waiver of Section 70914 of P.L. 117-58, Buy America, Build America Act, 2021 […]

Temporary Public Interest Waiver of Build America, Buy America Act, 2021

Agency: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Subject: Temporary Public Interest Waiver of Section 70914 of P.L. 117-58, Build America, Buy America […]

Federal Regulatory Issues Chart

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

ACWA’s 2022 Summer Drought Toolkit

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

Comments on Draft Regulatory Language on Public Fleet Requirements

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

2021 ACWA Member Directory

ACWA’s latest member directory is now available to public agency members and associates. View the 2021 directory.

Suggested News

15 Articles prev next
Nationwide Water Taste Testing Ranks Alameda County Water District in Top Five

The Alameda County Water District placed in the top five of the best tasting water in the nation for the […]

Water Agencies Celebrate Five Decades of Successful Groundwater Management

As California experiences another year of drought and extreme heat, residents and businesses may be asking how their communities ensure […]

Governor Addresses Climate Change with New Water Supply Strategy

Gov. Gavin Newsom today released a new water supply strategy the Newsom Administration is taking to adapt to hotter and […]

Anabtawi selected as Assistant General Manager

APPLE VALLEY —Adnan Anabtawi has been selected as Assistant General Manager of the Mojave Water Agency (MWA) effective August 1. […]

MWDOC Offers Quick Video Tips for Successful Water-Smart Gardens

The Municipal Water District of Orange County (MWDOC) has teamed up with UCCE Master Gardeners to bring Orange County residents the […]

U.S. Senate Passes Inflation Reduction Act, Includes $4 billion in Drought Relief

The U. S. Senate on Sunday passed the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (H.R. 5376), which restructures the House Build Back […]

District’s Water-Themed Little Free Library is Stocked and Ready to Use

ROWLAND HIEGHTS –Rowland Water District (RWD) officially launched its Little Free Library on August 1 in a unique, hand-crafted metal […]

RWA’s Garden Smart Magazine Receives National Honors

The Regional Water Authority’s Garden Smart magazine has been awarded top honors for Best Garden Marketing Publication by Garden Publications […]

EMWD to Expand Recycled Water Infrastructure in French Valley

PERRIS — Eastern Municipal Water District’s (EMWD) Board of Directors today approved the award of a $4.4 million contract to […]

August 2022 Priority Issues Update Available

The August 2022 Priority Issues Update is now available online to members. The update is a summary of the latest […]

EPA Releases Lead Service Line Inventory Guidance

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today released its guidance on lead service line inventories pertaining to the […]

Mojave Water Agency receives government accounting award

APPLE VALLEY — Mojave Water Agency has received the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial reporting from the Government […]

Helix Water District Names Brian Olney New General Manager

LA MESA – The Helix Water District Board of Directors announced today that Brian Olney will be the organization’s new […]

Western Encourages Customers to Learn about the Delta Conveyance Water Project

RIVERSIDE – As California faces a historic water supply crisis on a level never seen before, Governor Newsom released an […]

EMWD Celebrates National Water Quality Month

PERRIS — Eastern Municipal Water District is proud to celebrate National Water Quality Month throughout August by reaffirming its longstanding […]