Governor Newsom’s “Water Supply Strategy”
By McKenzie Jackson, California Black Media
The Golden State is doing more than just praying for rain amid the historic drought hitting California and the western United States.
Governor Gavin Newsom has unveiled a plan that would increase California’s water supply and combat extreme weather caused by climate change. The initiative, whose scope is summarized in the 19-page document titled “California’s Water Supply Strategy, Adapting to a Hotter, Drier Future,” will invest $8 billion in water recycling, storage and desalination.
The plan, Newsom said, responds to a better understanding of the severity of California’s water crisis.
“The hydrology of the state has started to change quite significantly,” he said. “The aridification that we are experiencing leads us now, science and data leads us now, to understand that we will lose 10% of our water supply by 2040.”
The governor made the remarks during an Aug. 11 press conference outside the facility of the $110 million Antioch Brackish Desalination Project, currently under construction at the city’s sewage treatment plant. of Antioch.
When completed within the next two years, the Bay Area’s first surface water desalination plant will use large reverse osmosis filters to create 6 million gallons of fresh water per day.
Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe said the facility is one of the innovative solutions Californians must embrace in response to climate change and the current drought, which began in 2020.
Assemblywoman Lori Wison (D-Suisun) said, “We are experiencing the worst drought the western United States has seen in 1,200 years. We must find innovative solutions to climate challenges like this if we are to move forward successfully… Under the Governor’s leadership, California is investing in technology, solutions and people, even as California is leading the charge to fight climate change.
Newsom said constructions like the Antioch project were part of the plan.
“We are focused on creating more supply. We are focused on creating more water,” he said. “We need to be more creative and more aggressive not only to promote this technology, but also to deliver on its promise and more on its potential.”
The “Water Supply Strategy” includes the creation of storage space for up to 4 million acre-feet of water, so that rainwater from large storms can be captured and stored during dry periods and recycle and reuse a minimum of 800,000 acre-feet of water per year by 2030, reducing wastewater discharges to the ocean.
By employing more effective water conservation, the state will free up 500,000 acre-feet of water to compensate for water lost due to climate change. In addition, new water captured by stormwater and the desalination of seawater and saltwater in groundwater basins will be available for use.
Officials across the state applauded the plan.
San Diego County Water Authority CEO Sandra L. Kerl said the “water supply strategy” is an important step in protecting California’s economy and quality of life.
“The Governor’s approach aligns closely with the Water Authority’s 30-year strategy which combines new supplies, infrastructure upgrades and conservation,” she said.
Some disagreed with part of Newsom’s plan.
Kate Poole, senior nature program director for the Natural Resources Defense Council, told the LA Times that part of the initiative is good.
Poole said: “It’s really the things that aren’t in there that are of most concern,” she said. “Agriculture obviously uses 80% of our developed water supply in California. So you can’t really effectively manage water use without dealing with Big Ag. And Newsom doesn’t seem very willing to do that.
California is experiencing its second drought in the past decade. The sense of urgency is real, Newsom said.
“The hots get a lot hotter and the drys get a lot drier,” he said. “You have to adapt”