The Department of Water Resources officially reduced State Water Project allocations from 15% to 5% of the contracted amount on Friday. Updates like this in recent years have become routine, followed by water interests responding with calls for further conservation and infrastructure investment.
Jennifer Pierre, general manager of the State Water Contractors, pushed the state to get serious about updating infrastructure to account for the changing hydrology.
“This year is on track to be the most difficult for Central Valley agriculture since the water projects were built,” said Pierre in a statement. “Our communities, food supply and environment cannot be sustained without these investments and actions.”
Adel Hagekhalil, general manager of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, said the district has been getting the lowest deliveries in history and only a fraction of the water it once received.
“So far the level of conservation we’re seeing from the public is not matching the severity of these conditions,” said Hagekhalil.
in response to water infrastructure concerns, meanwhile, Republican Asm. Devon Mathis of Visalia has introduced a measure that would revive an ambitious water bond proposal for voters this year.
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A group known as More Water Now pulled their petition in February after failing to gather enough funding and signatures to progress. Mirroring that proposal, Mathis’ legislation would set aside 2% of the state’s general taxpayer revenues for water infrastructure investments, doled out through the California Water Commission.
The bill would require legislative approval for an amendment to the state constitution before going to voters—a tall order, especially for a GOP measure in the Democrat-dominated Legislature.
As California grapples with water scarcity, global water conflicts have been getting worse, according to a new report from the Pacific Institute.
The most recent account involves the Russian invasion of Ukraine, with attacks on civilian water systems. Severe droughts have been creating hostile situations in Iran and India as well, while pastoralists and farmers in sub-Saharan Africa have been fighting over scarce resources. And cyberattacks have posed an increasing threat to water systems worldwide.