SOURCE: Association of California Water Agencies

Association of California Water Agencies

April 09, 2015 17:54 ET

California Drought Briefing Highlights Impacts, Response as State Endures Unprecedented Dry Conditions

SACRAMENTO, CA--(Marketwired - Apr 9, 2015) - From wildfires to fallowed fields to the first-ever statewide mandatory cuts in urban water use, impacts of California's record drought and the array of measures in place to respond were in focus today at a half-day briefing presented by the Association of California Water Agencies in cooperation with several other organizations.

Top-level officials from state, federal and local agencies provided an update on conditions and impacts, and addressed a suite of new state actions underway as a result of Gov. Jerry Brown's executive order on drought issued April 1. The order calls for mandatory statewide reduction in water use and other measures to conserve water, increase enforcement of water use restrictions and streamline drought response by state agencies.

ACWA Executive Director Timothy Quinn said the briefing underscored the unprecedented water supply challenges as California copes with a fourth consecutive year of drought.

"It is clear from everything we heard today that California is facing a crisis like no other. But it also is clear that California's leaders are drilling down to develop plans and policies -- and provide assistance on the ground -- to help this state endure this record-breaking drought," Quinn said. "So much is on the line, and that's why so much attention and planning is taking place. Our goal today was to provide a detailed look at the impacts, and bring all the various story lines onto one page. We have a long, hot dry summer ahead of us. We can't make it rain, but we can manage through the worst and continue our long-term efforts to improve the resiliency of our state's water system."

ACWA President John Coleman said the level of collaboration on display shows that California's leaders and water managers are committed to solutions that work for the state's cities, farms, businesses and environment -- both in times of drought and longer term.

"The breadth of people who came together in this room today to talk about California's epic drought speaks volumes about the level of collaboration that has been going on behind the scenes throughout this crisis," Coleman said. "Silos have come down, officials are working across agency lines to develop workable, resilient plans for all sectors and regions throughout the state. We know that if one segment of our economy fails, it will affect our entire state -- hitting our farms, food supply and environment and ratcheting up our risk of fire hazard. If there is any silver lining to this crisis -- it is that we are working together for the entire state."

Speakers at the briefing included California Natural Resources Secretary John Laird, State Water Resources Control Board Chair Felicia Marcus, California Department of Fish and Wildlife Chief Deputy Director Kevin Hunting, State Climatologist Michael Anderson, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Mid-Pacific Region Director David Murillo, California Farm Bureau Federation President Paul Wenger, CalFire Chief Public Information Officer Daniel Berlant, California Governor's Office of Emergency Services Inland Region Administrator Eric Lamoureux, and others. Local agency managers and elected officials, including Metropolitan Water District of Southern California Assistant General Manager Roger Patterson, East Bay Municipal Utility District General Manager Alexander Coate, Merced Irrigation District General Manager John Sweigard, Sacramento County Supervisor Don Nottoli and Sacramento Municipal Utility District Water and Power Resource Specialist Paul Olmstead also spoke.

The briefing was presented by ACWA in partnership with the California Department of Water Resources, the California State Association of Counties (CSAC), the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, the League of California Cities, the California Farm Water Coalition, the California Farm Bureau Federation, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, the California Office of Emergency Services and Cal Fire.

Resources and materials from the event are available at http://www.acwa.com/spotlight/2015-drought-four-years-and-counting. A recorded webcast of the event will be available soon at the same link.

ACWA is a statewide association of public agencies whose 430 members are responsible for about 90% of the water delivered in California. For more information, visit www.acwa.com.

Contact Information

  • Contact:
    Lisa Lien-Mager
    Director of Communications
    916/441-4545 or 530/902-3815 (cell)