On Monday, Governor Gavin Newsom issued an Executive Order directing state agencies to collaborate on developing a water plan that identifies priorities for building a water resilient portfolio and creating a water system that will meet the water needs of California’s communities, economy, and the environment into the future.  

“California’s water challenges are daunting, from severely depleted groundwater basins to vulnerable infrastructure to unsafe drinking water in far too many communities.  Climate change magnifies the risks,” Governor Newsom said in a statement.  “To meet these challenges, we need to harness the best in science, engineering and innovation to prepare for what’s ahead and ensure long-term water resilience and ecosystem health. We’ll need an all-of-above approach to get there.”

The Executive Order directs the secretaries of the Natural Resources Agency, the California Department of Food and Agriculture, and the California Environmental Protection Agency to assess existing demands and supplies, current water quality conditions of groundwater and surface waters, projected future water needs, climate change impacts, contaminated drinking water, and existing water programs and policies.  The state agencies will then identify key priorities to ensure safe and resilient water supplies, flood protection and healthy waterways for the state’s communities, economy, and environment.

RCRC is pleased the Executive Order continues the trajectory established by the last Administration, particularly the focus on groundwater sustainability as well as the needs of many rural communities for safe and affordable drinking water.  It is also encouraging to see focus on cross-collaboration among these three key agencies with oversight responsibilities for California’s working landscapes.

The Executive Order can be accessed here.  A website has been created to track progress and collect public input, which can be accessed here