Jim Peifer, Executive Director of the Regional Water Authority, which represents nearly two dozen water providers serving 2 million people in the Sacramento region, issued the following statement in response to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s call today for urgent action to address a projected 10 percent decrease in statewide water supplies by 2040 due to climate change.
“Sacramento-area water providers appreciate the Governor’s urgency and approach to preparing for the harsh impacts of climate change on California’s water supplies. I agree when the Governor says later is too late to act.
“The Governor’s strategy focuses on creating a 21st-century water system that will increase our ability to store more water in our groundwater aquifer during wet times so that it is available to us during dry times. I appreciate that the strategy recognizes that climate change means not only drier dries, but also wetter wets, and lays out a clear plan to evolve water delivery to meet this weather whiplash.
“In particular, the plan calls for expanding water storage capacity above and below ground by 4 million acre-feet, including expanding average groundwater recharge by 500,000 acre-feet by 2040.
“Groundwater recharge is already in progress in the Sacramento region via our Water Bank and has proven to be effective as demonstrated by increasing groundwater levels even during the current megadrought. Thanks to $80 million in state investment coupled with $200 million in local investment over the past decade, we have created 30,000 acre feet of storage capacity (enough water to serve about 90,000 households). And, we appreciate the Governor’s continued support of the Water Bank and federal investment.
“Moreover, the state’s goal for groundwater recharge is absolutely achievable. The Sacramento region can readily contribute an additional 30,000 acre-feet before the end of the decade and has the capacity to greatly expand moving forward. This expanded sustainable supply comes at a cost that will support the affordability goals included in the strategy.
“However, we must act quickly. We are in a race against time to ensure we have the pipes, pumps and wells needed for the Water Bank. We’re ready to continue and build on our successful partnership with the state and Governor to move this new plan forward.”