Earlier this week, Governor Gavin Newsom released a final version of the Water Resilience Portfolio, a collaborative effort between the California Natural Resources Agency, California Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Food and Agriculture, designed to serve as the Administration’s blueprint to move California forward in ensuring the state’s long-term water resilience and ecosystem health.

The effort began in April 2019 when Governor Newsom issued Executive Order N-10-19 calling for a portfolio of actions to address California’s many water challenges. Among those challenges are droughts, floods, extreme weather swings, declining fish populations, over-reliance on groundwater, vulnerable infrastructure, and others. To develop the comprehensive portfolio required by the executive order, the state agencies conducted an inventory and assessment of key aspects of California water, soliciting broad input from tribes, agencies, individuals, groups, and leaders across the state. An interagency working group considered the assessment and input from more than 20 public listening sessions across the state and more than 100 substantive comment letters.

RCRC was involved early in the portfolio development process, providing comments ahead of the initial draft release of the Water Resilience Portfolio, along with its partners in the California Forest Watershed Alliance (CAFWA). Following the draft release in January 2020, RCRC was among the over 200 individuals and organizations that helped to inform revisions, including greater emphasis to upper watershed health and cross-border water issues. RCRC’s comments on the draft release can be viewed here.

Along with the issuance of the final version of the Water Resilience Portfolio, the state agencies identified ten key priorities to ensure safe and resilient water supplies, flood protection and healthy waterways for the state’s communities, economy, and environment.

  1. Implementing the Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Act of 2019.
  2. Supporting local communities to successfully implement the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act of 2014.
  3. Achieving voluntary agreements to increase flows and improve conditions for native fish in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and its watersheds.
  4. Modernizing the Delta water conveyance system to protect long-term functionality of the State Water Project.
  5. Updating regulations to expand water recycling.
  6. Accelerating permitting of new smart water storage.
  7. Expanding seasonal floodplains for fish and flood benefits.
  8. Improving conditions at the Salton Sea.
  9. Removing dams from the Klamath River.
  10. Better leveraging of information and data to improve water management.

Additional information about the Water Resilience Portfolio Initiative is available here.