On Tuesday, Mary-Ann Warmerdam, RCRC Senior Legislative Advocate, represented California’s rural counties on a panel before the California State Board of Food and Agriculture.  The panel, which focused on the Water Resilience Portfolio, also included David Guy with the Northern California Water Association, and Rich Gordon with the California Forestry Association.  

“The Water Resilience Portfolio initiative creates an opportunity for us to step back and reimagine how we might best steward the infrastructure investments already made, even as we operationalize them for today’s ecosystem and economic needs,” said Warmerdam.

Ms. Warmerdam’s comments centered around three policy buckets – healthy watersheds, water infrastructure, and Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) implementation. 

“A healthy watershed leads to a healthy water supply” noted Warmerdam, and preserving California’s largest reservoir (Shasta Lake) is of paramount importance.  Nearly 75 percent of California’s available water originates in the northern one-third of the state, while more than 70 percent of the demand occurs in the southern two-thirds of the state and coastal areas.  Protecting our watersheds begins with properly managing our forests and wildlands.

Ms. Warmerdam discussed the importance of investing in water infrastructure, and recognizing conjunctive use benefits, namely the integration of California’s surface water supply and groundwater.

Lastly, the SGMA provides us the opportunity to “get it right” through empowering local groundwater sustainability agencies (GSAs) as the lead on local solutions.

RCRC’s overall advocacy efforts related to various water proposals and policy can be accessed here.