California Water Commission Acknowledges the Elephant in the Room With New Public Workshop on Groundwater

California Water Commission Acknowledges the Elephant in the Room With New Public Workshop on Groundwater

At Clean Water Action the voices of our members truly amplify our power, and when it comes to drought-proofing California’s water supply, our members really stepped up this past week.

On Wednesday, March 16, we took a poster of a giant “elephant in the room” to a public hearing held by the California Water Commission in Sacramento. The elephant was emblazoned with the names of the more than 1,300 of our members who took the time out of their busy schedules to write emails and handwritten letters to the Commission.

We were at the hearing because the Commission is soon to decide how to spend almost $3billion in water bond money allocated by the voters.

The Commission has been writing draft regulations for how the money should be spent, and right now, it looks like they are likely to allocate more money to building expensive dams than to groundwater storage, even though groundwater storage is cheaper and better than building dams. You can read more about their strange reasoning, here.

Our goal was to influence the commission to reconsider the regulations, and I’m pleased to say that they said some encouraging things about the value of groundwater storage at the hearing. They also committed to holding a new public workshop next month, where we’ll be able to weigh in again to try to ensure that our members’ voices aren’t trumped by special interests.

We’re optimistic that the commission will rewrite their draft regulations after hearing the testimony of thousands of California taxpayers.

This is about making an even playing field. If you compare groundwater projects with dams, they are cheaper, offer better storage and are more climate-friendly. So we need to favor groundwater projects over dams for greater public benefit at lower cost.

If you were one of those 1,300 people, thank you so much for taking the time to write to the Commission. You can PDF icondownload the elephant poster here and find your name. And we’ll keep you updated on the progress at the new hearing.