Climate Change and Water Policy
Scientists are finding that water resources of the western United States, including California, will be significantly impacted by climate change. Already, California is struggling to manage water resources with extended drought on the Colorado River, ecosystem decline in the Bay Delta and declining groundwater quality. These challenges will be exacerbated as California’s “new normal” under climate change will include greater variability in precipitation and declining availability of snowpack.
Yet, California must also be prepared to accommodate millions more Californians. The Department of Finance estimates that by 2050, California’s population will nearly double to almost 60 million people. PCL’s Water Program focuses on developing new water policies that will sustain California’s population, fuel our economy and provide for healthy ecosystems.
With the emerging energy for change, the economic necessity to develop new solutions and the building call for action to address climate change, there is unique opportunity to implement innovative and effective water policies within the next five years. Our water program has developed a specific platform of reform to take advantage of this historic opportunity. Our platform is designed to institute water reform based on the following principles:
- California must develop water supplies that are climate change resilient.
- Watershed based solutions should be prioritized in order to maximize multiple benefits.
- Policies and programs should aggressively promote regional water self-sufficiency.
- Water investments and water management must be designed to increase the number and security of locally based jobs.
- All Californians should have access to safe and affordable water in amounts sufficient for basic human needs.