SMART Infrastructure: Water

Modernize California’s Water System

Few Californians understand the crisis in the state’s water system. California’s state and federal water systems were designed to serve 17 million people. They now serve a population twice that size—one that will likely be three times that size before a modernization plan can be implemented. Water is the indispensable pillar of the state’s economy, and the Delta water system, in particular, which 25 million Californians depend on every day, must be modernized quickly for the state’s economy to thrive

Goal of SMART Infrastructure: Water

Begin immediate implementation of a comprehensive, integrated California water infrastructure plan to achieve the goals of the state’s two main water efforts—the Delta Stewardship Council and the Governor’s Bay Delta Conservation Plan. In the meantime, begin immediate implementation of interim measures that increase through-Delta conveyance, reduce reliance on the Delta to meet future needs, and are consistent with a long-term comprehensive plan.

Tracking Progress

Action Team

Goals for the Year

Progress update - September 1, 2015

Integrate the work of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan and the Delta Stewardship Council into a comprehensive implementation plan
The Delta Stewardship Council in collaboration with the Natural Resources Agency establish Action Team to develop comprehensive plan.
September 24, 2013 - Progress towards modernization of California’s water system is accelerating, with the Water Action Team continuing to push for a comprehensive, integrated plan that achieves the state’s goals. This spring and summer, preliminary drafts of chapters of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) were released, along with a draft economic impact study from the Department of Water Resources. In August, the Department announced a realignment of its Delta plan, while the Delta Stewardship Council has also released its own Delta Water Plan, aimed at achieving the co-equal goals of providing a reliable supply of water for Californians and protecting, restoring and enhancing the Delta ecosystem. Members of the Water Action Team, meanwhile, have continued to make progress towards building a state-wide coalition of diverse stakeholders in support of a comprehensive water plan. Discussions have been held with top administration officials as well as key stakeholders from throughout the state. The Department of Water Resources is expected to release a draft of its statewide Water Action Plan this fall. March 27, 2013 - A diverse group of stakeholders representing counties in the Bay Delta and in the San Joaquin Valley are continuing to work together on a list of key near-term projects that align with Summit recommendations to maintain the Delta ecosystem while providing Californians with a reliable source of drinking water. The group has committed to delivering a list of these projects to the legislature by the end of April 2013. In the meantime, the Brown administration has released a preliminary plan for its $18 billion project to build twin tunnels underneath the Delta. December 11, 2012 - The Signature Initiative calling for modernization of California's water infrastructure was reviewed at a meeting held on December 11, 2012 attended by representatives from the 5 counties in the Delta, the 8 counties in the San Joaquin Valley and members of the State legislature representing those counties. There was consensus among the participants that
(a) California needs a comprehensive, integrated California water infrastructure plan to achieve the co-equal goals of Delta Ecosystem Restoration and Water Supply Reliability; and
(b) greater attention and urgency needs to be paid by the relevant agencies to interim solutions that will bridge the State until a comprehensive solution can be fully implemented. Legislators indicated that a request has been made of the Department of Water Resources for a full accounting of how proposition 1E funding has been expended to date, with a view towards directing the remaining funds to projects that will provide the needed interim solutions. Additionally, there was discussion of a water bond that would include funding of interim projects that are consistent with implementation of a long-term, comprehensive, fully integrated solution. The 12-county participants, who have been working together for some time to vet projects that would strengthen the Delta Levee System, increase through-Delta capacity and reduce reliance on the Delta, committed to delivering a list of these projects to the legislature not later than April 30, 2012. September 14, 2012 - The Action Team has been working with the Governor and other key players to adopt a more comprehensive approach to managing the state’s water infrastructure that addresses the needs of all regions and categories of users.
Integrate the ""natural"" water infrastructure Affirm priority water rights and watersheds-of-origin protections and invest in watersheds
The Natural Resources Agency and Dept of Water Resources should lead a coalition to educate Californians on the importance of protecting the Delta and upper watersheds and ensuring a reliable supply of water, launching the effort this calendar year.
Implement interim measures with intensity of focus
The Governor and Legislature through the state budget process should allocate remaining Proposition 1E and Proposition 84 funding to water projects that improve levee structural integrity and safety, increase through-Delta conveyance, and enhance habitat.
Strongly incent and, where appropriate, enforce implementation of regional water conservation
The Department of Water Resources (DWR) should accelerate implementation of Integrated Regional Water Management Grants (IRWMPs) through shared information, incentives, peer accountability, public information, and enforcement actions.
Supporter water technology R&D
The Office of Planning and Research (OPR) should evaluate stakeholder recommendations for regulatory reforms that will allow full integration of storm water, gray water, groundwater recharge, water conservation and reuse.
Educate Californians on the imperativeness of modernizing California's water system
The California Council on Science and Technology should be assigned the responsibility of developing a California Water Future Science and Technology Roadmap.
Identify and secure funding sources for implementation of these projects
The Administration should assign responsibility for development of a comprehensive water funding and financing plan
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