The water supply restrictions, cutbacks and curtailments of 2022, imposed by government agencies at every level – local, state and federal – and impacting nearly every traditional source of water supply used in Southern California, demand attention and action. One important lesson from this unprecedented water supply crisis is this: The only agencies and communities that have avoided these severe cutbacks are those that started planning years ago for drought by investing in long-term infrastructure and local supply solutions.
We believe that advancing safe, clean, reliable, and affordable water supply improvements should be the top priority for all our elected officials … especially our water board representatives. Join us in asking these men and women to explore all options for water resources in Southern California while maintaining our region’s important focus on responsible and environmentally sound water resource management.
In California, you can’t move water long distances without crossing fault lines. Just because we haven’t felt a major quake for some time, it doesn’t mean they are not happening regularly, continuing to degrade out water infrastructure and making ongoing maintenance a must.
In no place is our water supply infrastructure more at risk than in the Sacramento Delta, where seismic activity on the dangerous Hayward fault could disrupt, then limit, water deliveries to Southern California for several years. Other faults put other infrastructure at risk and much of this infrastructure needs to be upgraded with greater seismic protections, which is why the Secure Water Alliance supports greater funding for infrastructure improvements and an “all of the above” approach to our region’s water supply options.
Wildfires used to be seasonal. Not so much anymore. Climate change and drought are turning the fire season into a year-round threat. As more extended dry periods infringe on the winter wet season, drought conditions start earlier in the year. Higher springtime temperatures wring the moisture out of vegetation and increase the potential for wildfire activity almost throughout the year.
Did you know that some of our water infrastructure is over 100 years old? Or that a water main breaks somewhere in America every minute? Or that even though we have known the danger of lead in water supply for years, there are over 10 million homes and 400,000 schools and childcare centers in America that still have lead pipes in them?
Investment is needed not only to replace this failing and unsafe infrastructure but also to explore other avenues of delivering safe and affordable water.
Progress towards a secure water future requires successful navigation around the 800-pound gorilla in the room: vocal opposition to new water supply projects. Some people oppose these projects because they don’t understand the amount of care that goes into protecting the environment when planning, constructing, and operating water supply infrastructure. Others try to stop new water projects because they mistakenly think they cause growth, when in fact they are needed to accommodate our region’s natural growth and to ensure adequate future water supplies for all our communities.
>Decision-makers within our water and regulatory agencies need to hear other voices, voices backed by facts in addition to strong convictions. These facts can be from scientific studies that counter opposition rhetoric by detailing how effective these water projects are in protecting the environment, or they can be from human experience and the stories of underserved Southern Californians who have suffered disproportionally from poor decision-making on water supply projects.
The bottom line is that too many view our water supply challenges as problems that must just be accepted. But we don’t accept that view, and we invite you to join us in challenging it.
We must act now.
Join the positive thinkers and creative problem solvers to end the never-ending obstacles to Southern California’s water supply reliability.