A coalition of farm groups has teamed up with business advocates to sound the alarm for the current water crisis and sharing disappointment with the lack of urgency in state budget plans.
Arguing in a letter this week that the strategy has been to shrink supplies and “expect homes and businesses to do more with less,” they challenge the governor and lawmakers to set a goal for growing the water supply, as California has done for cutting carbon emissions, conserving land and investing in renewable energy.
“We are merely managing economic decline,” they warn, before listing a stream of dire reports on the drought, slashed groundwater pumping and the crippled hydropower capacity. They describe Gov. Gavin Newsom’s $500 million for water as “barely scratching the surface of what is needed” and disparage the Senate’s $2.5 billion to boost environmental flows for not creating any new water supplies but instead taking water from farmers.
Among the requests, the coalition calls for a solid accounting of the actual storage capacity for the State Water Project and Central Valley Project, which were built with “grossly over-optimistic hydrology projections.” This would show the investment required to meet California’s needs, they reason.