As Southern California prepares for a severe cutback in water deliveries in the coming month, a coalition of business leaders and former governors are urging leaders in Sacramento to promote "aggressive and immediate action" on water supply and infrastructure issues.
Under terms of a federal court decision handed down in August, the Department of Water Resources is cutting its initial allocation for water deliveries in 2008. The initial allocation was expected to be lower because of dry conditions in the Sacramento and San Joaquin regions, whose rivers feed water from the Sierra Mountain Range to the Sacramento-San Joaquin Bay-Delta and to State Water Project pumps.
"Approximately 60% of our water comes from imported supplies and Southern California is now facing extreme water supply deficiencies," the Southern California Leadership Council (SCLC) wrote to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and legislative leaders. "The combinations of the extended drought in the Colorado River Basin, the failure to implement timely and effective improvements in California's water supply infrastructure, and the recent court interference in the Bay-Delta operations have created an unprecedented crisis for the ongoing economic integrity of our state."
However, the council said "environmentally benign infrastructure improvements" can help improve the storage, capture and conveyance of water to Southern California.
As part of a solution, the SCLC suggested greater use of available groundwater resources and of the region's relatively inexpensive storage capacity, a holdover from the area's past groundwater development.
The SCLC said the region's water purveyors and business leaders "are aligned in support of our own progressive solution in Southern California," and urge leaders in Sacramento "to help break down the institutional, legal, political and economic barriers that have frustrated past efforts to more efficiently manage and distribute water throughout this great state."
The letter called for "a concerted 'local projects' assistance program" and a state bond program providing matching funds for local efforts.
Source: Southern California Leadership Council