The Golden State has developed an action plan to address water scarcity. Here’s how businesses can help.
The state's drought is exposing the importance of water in agriculture, energy production, manufacturing, residential use, ecosystems and more. It is also beginning to highlight what needs to change with regards to how we value water and the importance of water stewardship.
A recent Reuters article summarizes the extent of the drought and the particular impact to the agricultural sector in California — the nation's No.1 agricultural producer, responsible for half of the nation's fruits and vegetables. Some 500,000 acres of cropland are expected to be left idle in 2014 due to reductions in available water. The impact could be in the billions of dollars to the state economy.
To help address the problem, the Golden State released the California Water Action Plan (PDF) in January. As California's official vision, it recommends how to address water scarcity, with goals for management over the next five years. On a broad level, the plan describes the following 10 major goals:
1. Make conservation a California way of life.
2. Increase regional self-reliance and integrated water management across all levels of government.
3. Achieve the Delta Reform Act's "co-equal goals" of reliable water supply and improved environmental quality for the Delta.
4. Protect and restore important ecosystems.
5. Manage and prepare for dry periods.
6. Expand water storage capacity and improve groundwater management.
7. Provide safe water for all communities.
8. Increase flood protection.
9. Increase operational and regulatory efficiency.
10. Identify sustainable and integrated financing opportunities.