By John Guenther.
Beyond the big stories of the Delta tunnels and the recent drought, California’s water future also depends on how water will be managed in each region.
While the rainy season has ended the drought for most of the state, those who deal in the complex world of water policy and politics see the urgent need to better manage California’s water and restore the state’s water balance, which has been tilted toward using more than we capture even before the drought.
At the most recent California Economic Summit, we talked to Sonoma County Supervisor James Gore and Charles Gardiner, a policy and planning consultant and Summit Action Team member, about how regions will need to adapt to managing their water using more integrated, sustainable, and outcome-based strategies.
The Summit’s Roadmap to Shared Prosperity lays out a water action plan for 2017 that aims to capture and conserve one million acre-feet of water every year and encourages regional solutions for managing water across watersheds, rather than in individual water districts. To get that done, the Summit helped develop new local infrastructure financing tools and steps to integrate resource planning and ecosystem services tools, while promoting data technology to aid in planning.
The California Economic Summit is a regions-based and upward mobility-focused effort involving hundreds of business, civic, and nonprofit leaders from across the state. The yearlong process continues through the annual Summit event and results in action plans to tackle the state’s most pressing economic issues.