The Public Policy Institute of California recommended a number of policy actions in its latest report last week. One hurdle PPIC recognizes is that the farming sector “must prepare for future droughts, while also bringing groundwater basins into balance.” This will require supply investments and “judicious demand management.”
Groundwater recharge is a high priority as well, though the state is lacking incentive programs for farmers, the report notes. It points to temporary water trades as a way to keep orchards alive during drought, though farmers are increasingly seeking long-term trades to ensure reliable supplies. PPIC writes that this could cut SGMA costs to farmers by more than half in the San Joaquin Valley.
During a PPIC summit on the report, CDFA Sec. Karen Ross said we have “an opportunity of a lifetime for farmers to step up and identify how they can be part of the solution to climate change.” She said the administration was also hopeful a draft of its Water Resilience Portfolio will be ready within two weeks.