Schwarzenegger’s Drought Proclamation Offers a Challenge and an Opportunity2 min read

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Governor Schwarzenegger’s drought proclamation offers up a challenge – and an opportunity – for all Californians to conserve water and to work together to find new solutions to solve our water problems.

Unfortunately the Governor’s executive order relies heavily on outdated strategies that have created the very problems we now seek to solve. We encourage the Governor to embrace measures that will allow California to grow without increasing demand on already over-allocated water sources. We need strong policies that can decrease water demand, provide climate-resilient water supplies, and truly provide relief for the communities, fisherman, businesses and ecosystems that are suffering from lack of reliable water.

More and more residents and businesses are facing severe water rationing in California, while water demands and communities continue to grow. While the Governor’s proclamation references the need to provide water for our growth, his executive order relies heavily on the same sources of water that are now in decline.”

Measures such as Assembly Member Krekorian’s Water Efficiency Security Act, co-sponsored by the Planning and Conservation League, would help prevent rationing by ensuring growing California communities have the water they need without further increasing water demand on over-burdened water resources. However, despite a groundswell of support from local water agencies, to city councils, community groups and conservation organizations, this pivotal measure failed to gain traction in the State Assembly.

Ensuring that new growth in California will not lead to increased rationing and exacerbate the pending water crisis is a critical step to solving California’s water crisis. The Planning and Conservation League has a 43-year history of working toward ensuring there is enough water for all Californians, and we pledge to work with Governor Schwarzenegger to ensure that California’s water supply meets the needs for all communities, businesses and the environment – for today and the future.

Traci Sheehan is the Executive Director of the Planning and Conservation League, a statewide, nonprofit lobbying organization. For more than thirty years, PCL has fought to develop a body of environmental laws in California that is the best in the United States. PCL staff review virtually every environmental bill that comes before the California Legislature each year. It has testified in support or opposition of thousands of bills to strengthen California’s environmental laws and fight off rollbacks of environmental protections.

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