Public Policy Issues
California Water Crisis
Current and future availability of water in California is threatened by a number of factors, including environment issues, population growth and aging infrastructure. California’s critical contributions to the U.S. economy and food supply make the state’s water challenges a national issue.
As part of state and federal initiatives to address these challenges, the Irrigation Association believes that long-term solutions to the California water crisis must include:
Increased implementation and use of efficient irrigation practices, equipment and systems throughout California.
Federal and state programs to incentivize and promote efficient irrigation in both agricultural production and residential settings.
Drought assistance to provide immediate funding for projects and activities to help alleviate record unemployment and diminished agricultural production.
Learn more about IA activities related to the California water crisis.
The reliability and availability of California’s water supplies for drinking, agriculture production, residential irrigation, the environment and other uses are being negatively affected by:
A three-year drought.
State population growth to more than 38 million.
Aging and antiquated infrastructure.
Declining Sacramento-San Joaquin Bay-Delta ecosystem.
The California State Legislature recently passed a comprehensive water bond, still subject to voter approval. However, California’s water crisis reaches far beyond the state’s borders. U.S. businesses, consumers and food supplies all depend on California water, making it critical that the federal government perceive the current crisis as a national one.
Long-term solutions to the California water crisis must be comprehensive in nature, addressing storage and conveyance, water rights and environmental restoration. IA believes that increased implementation and use of efficient irrigation practices, equipment and systems throughout California must also play a major role in any long-term, sustainable solution. Finally, immediate action must be taken to ensure that water is available in the near term, while long-term solutions are discussed and implemented.
Examples of IA-supported, efficient irrigation funding for California include:
Over $18 million allocated to 15 state projects through the Farm Bill’s Agricultural Water Enhancement Program. The program received a total of $73 million for fiscal year 2009; California received the largest portion of available funding.
A special drought initiative under the Farm Bill’s Environmental Quality Incentives Program. An additional $10 million was made available to California farmers in select counties for micro-irrigation and sprinkler irrigation systems.
Together with the severely impacted agricultural and green industry communities, IA also supports current efforts by the Departments of the Interior and Commerce to initiate an aggressive, inter-agency plan to develop a single integrated Biological Opinion for the California Bay-Delta and related water operations of the Federal Central Valley Project and California’s State Water Project.