California governor announces aggressive $8 billion plan to boost water supply

California Governor Gavin Newsom this week announced an aggressive new plan to tackle water shortages in the state. The $8 billion strategy, detailed in a 16-page document documentaims to bolster California’s dwindling water supply.

As the burdens of global warming and historic drought conditions show no signs of slowing down, Newsom is looking to expand the state’s water supply.

“Science and data lead us to understand now that we will lose 10% of our water supply by 2040,” Newson said. said Thursday during a visit to a desalination plant. “As a result of this deeper understanding, we have a renewed sense of urgency to address this issue head-on.”

California dry land and tree
Dead aspens stand near a shoreline widened by the very low water level in Grant Lake, California.

David McNew/Getty Images

The new plan, titled “California’s Water Supply Strategy, Adapting to a Hotter, Drier Future,” highlights methods to raise water levels and compensate for water loss caused by climate change. The four main goals set are to create storage for four million acre-feet of stormwater, recycle and reuse 800,000 acre-feet of wastewater per year by 2030, use water conservation techniques water more efficiently to release 500,000 acre-feet of water, and desalinate more seawater.

“What we’re focused on is creating more supply,” Newsom said. “What we are focused on is creating more water. How can we use existing resources and be more resourceful to advance policies, and direct our energies to create more water, to capture more of water?”

During his press conference, Newsom also highlighted his frustration with the bureaucratic process, which often slows down the implementation of climate plans like this.

“The time it takes to get these damn projects is ridiculous, it’s absurd, it’s reasonably comical,” Newsom said.

California Governor Newsom announces new water supply measures due to climate change
California Governor Gavin Newsom speaks to reporters about a new body of water to accommodate hotter, drier conditions caused by climate change. August 11, 2022.

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While the outline of the plan gives people a basic understanding of the methods the state would employ to increase water supplies, critics like the nonprofit environmental advocacy group Watch out for food and water said the plan never discusses how the state’s biggest water-use offenders might curb.

“The plan makes no mention of reducing the state’s most intensive water users – Big Ag and Big Oil,” Food & Water Watch wrote in a statement. statement.

Search by organization alleged that California “could save up to 82 million cubic meters of water each year by switching from fossil fuels to renewables like solar and wind.”

The group added that Newsom’s plan relies heavily on controversial projects like desalination – a process according to Food & Water Watch uses fossil fuels, endangers marine life and creates a toxic brine that is difficult to dispose of.

“Frontline communities can’t afford desalination and neither can the environment,” Tomás Rebecchi, head of Food & Water Watch California’s organization, said in a statement. “And time and again, Californians have fought against these catastrophic projects and won. It’s time Newsom treated water as a human right, not a commodity to be traded for corporate profit.”

Newsom said Thursday he would work aggressively, “without waiting for voters,” to implement that plan.

“I’m excited about this plan,” the governor said. “I’m excited about the innovation we’re moving forward in this plan, but more importantly, the deeper sense of urgency, a mindset of intentionality, a focus on real goals and real deliverables, with deadlines and the resources attached to these deadlines.”

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