Governor Gavin Newsom signed an new executive order on Monday to help retain water in the state against future droughts.
According to a press release released by the Governor, the new executive order came about as a direct response to both the mega-drought that has occurred in California for the last several years, as well as mega-storms last month that helped refill reservoirs across the state and boosted snowpack levels well above 200% in mountain ranges.
The order specifically keeps many drought and rain emergency orders made in the past few years in effect that protect water reserves and expand how much water can be brought to reservoirs during rainier times. The Department of Water Resources, the State Water Resources Control Board, and the Department of Fish and Wildlife will also be allowed to continue expediting water releases and recharge projects.
In addition, the Water Board can modify water release and diversion limitations in the state to conserve water upstream later in the year in order to protect cold water pools for salmon and steelhead, enhance instream conditions for fish and wildlife, improve water quality, protect carry-over storage, ensure minimum health and safety water supplies, and provide opportunities to maintain or to expand water supplies north and south of the Delta. New groundwater wells, or modifying existing wells, will also need new permissions under the order from a groundwater sustainability agency.
“To protect water supply and the environment given this new reality, and until it is clear what the remainder of the wet season will hold, the executive order includes provisions to protect water reserves, and replace and replenish the greater share of rain and snowfall that will be absorbed by thirstier soils, vegetation and the atmosphere,” the Office of Governor Gavin Newsom said on Monday.
“The order helps expand the state’s capacity to capture storm runoff in wet years by facilitating groundwater recharge projects. It also continues conservation measures and allows the State Water Board to reevaluate requirements for reservoir releases and diversion limitations to maximize water supplies north and south of the Delta while protecting the environment. Additionally, the order directs state agencies to review and provide recommendations on the state’s drought response actions by the end of April, including the possibility of terminating specific emergency provisions that are no longer needed, once there is greater clarity about the hydrologic conditions this year.”
Water control experts noted on Monday that the Executive Order will lead to more water restrictions later this year.
“In layman’s terms, the Executive Order is giving more power to different agencies and will bring on more restrictions later this year,” Jack Wesley, a water systems consultant for farms and multi-family homes, explained to the Globe on Monday. “They’re projecting another hot, dry summer, but we also have more rain coming most likely, and a lot of snow to help replenish the state later this year. If you’re in a city or suburb, this won’t affect you too, too much, except for probably more restrictions this year, like not washing your car or broken up watering times.”
“For people in more rural and agricultural areas, it’s a bit more of a problem. It’s already a pain to dig a new well there, so with this it will be even harder now. But the bigger thing is state agencies deciding more on water releases and solidifying that hated part that protects fish above farms. And most people already know what that means – farms getting hit with the brunt of it.
“The order sorta makes sense in that, yes, if it is a drought year we do need to protect the water we have. But they are making a lot of assumptions right now and are once again ignoring important sectors.”
Other drought control measures are expected to be put into place across the state later this year.
- Former San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo Rumored To Announce Congressional Run Soon - November 30, 2023
- Gov. Newsom’s Recent $300 Million Block Of Homeless Funding Faces Growing Criticism - November 30, 2023
- Effort Grows To Have Former SF Mayor, Supervisor Mark Farrell Run For Mayor In 2024 - November 30, 2023