The State Board of Food and Agriculture hosted a public listening session on the Water Resilience Portfolio on July 2 in San Luis Obispo.  The Water Portfolio is the product of an Executive Order signed by Governor Gavin Newsom to update the Water Action Plan that was developed by the Brown Administration.  The State Board of Food and Agriculture is an advisory body to the Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture, one of the administrative agencies tasked with developing the Water Portfolio.

Much of the conversation at the listening session centered around the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA).  Local growers highlighted the difficulties of implementing SGMA and the amount of fallowing that would have to occur to achieve balance.  CCM President Casey Creamer stressed to the Board that it will be extremely difficult to implement SGMA if the status quo continues and that our growers and the surrounding communities are committed to changing that fate.

“In order to achieve the Administration’s goals for drinking water, water quality, and the successful implementation of SGMA, we need water policies that look at these issues comprehensively,” states Creamer.  “We cannot conserve our way out of this crisis and in many areas the existing conservation mandates have only added to the problem.

“Additional recharge will occur as a result of SGMA, but the State needs to make significant new investments in infrastructure to address all of its priorities.  We must get as much water in the ground during the wet years and enhancing the current distribution system is paramount to accomplishing this.  We also must address the burdensome regulatory framework that restricts movement of water from areas of excess to areas of need.  The State should focus efforts on filling as much of the gap with additional supply as possible instead of facilitating a fight over the status quo.”

Participation in the State Board listening session is part of CCM’s collaborative efforts with the Blueprint Coalition to engage the administration on practical solutions to address water shortages across the state.