CA gov issues executive order on drought; NRDC, Poseidon Water comment on action
California Governor Jerry Brown has announced an executive order that will save water, increase enforcement of wasteful water use, invest in new technologies, and streamline the permitting process for water infrastructure projects such as desalination facilities.
April 1, 2015 -- Following the lowest snowpack measurement ever recorded in California history, Governor Jerry Brown announced an executive order today that includes mandatory water reductions, investment in new technologies, implementation of conservation pricing in water rates, increased reporting of water use data in the agricultural sector, and more.
The order follows the January 2014 release of the administration's Water Action Plan (see "New CA Water Action Plan outlines state's future water goals") as well as the recent $1-billion emergency drought relief package designed to combat the widespread severe drought that has continued to plague the majority of the state over the last four years (see "CA announces $1B emergency drought relief package").
Action Item No. 2 of the Water Action Plan states:
"Increase Regional Self-Reliance and Integrated Water Management Across all Levels of Government. This action includes the following goal: Streamline Permitting for Local Water Reuse or Enhancement Projects -- 'The administration will review and propose measures to streamline permitting for local projects that make better use of local water supplies such as recycling, stormwater capture and desalination of brackish and seawater as well as projects that provide multiple benefits, such as enhancing local water supplies while improving wildlife habitat.'"
In response to Brown's order, Steve Fleischli, director of the Natural Resources Defense Council's (NRDC) water program, issued the following statement:
"Tough times call for tough measures, and the Governor's action is exactly the kind of leadership we need in ensuring we conserve more water across the state. With record-low snow on the ground and no end to this drought in sight, it's absolutely critical that our leaders -- and our local suppliers -- are implementing long- and short-term solutions to California's water challenges. The days of casual waste and inattentive consumption are over in California. Now everyone will be expected to do his or her part to help save water."
According to the NRDC, highlights of Brown's plan include the following, to name a few:
- The Water Resources Control Board to reduce water usage by 25 percent in cities and towns across California -- a savings of approximately 1.5 million acre-feet of water over the next nine months
- Local water agencies to adjust their rate structures to implement conservation pricing
- Action against water agencies in depleted groundwater basins that have not shared data on their groundwater supplies with the state
- Making permanent monthly reporting of water usage, conservation and enforcement actions by local water suppliers
- Agricultural water users reporting more water use information to state regulators and increasing the state's ability to enforce against illegal diversions and waste and unreasonable use of water under today's order sector
Brown's order is also expected to streamline the permitting process for water infrastructure projects such as desalination plants, including the Huntington Beach facility.
Poseidon Water, a specialist in developing and financing water infrastructure projects, is in the late stages of developing the 50-million-gallon-per-day seawater desalination plant in Huntington Beach, Calif. (see "CA desalination building project underway").
In response to Brown's action:, Scott Maloni, vice president of Poseidon Water, issued the following statement:
"The Governor's Executive Order issued today is consistent with the policy goals established in the state's Water Action Plan and clearly demonstrates his commitment to developing new local water supplies including seawater desalination. A streamlined permitting process will significantly help our proposed Huntington Beach project become a reality. We are looking forward to bringing this project before the Coastal Commission for their approval this year and finally bringing a drought-proof water supply to millions of coastal residents."
A permit from the California Coastal Commission is the last discretionary approval at the state level required to construct the facility.
About Poseidon Water
Poseidon Water specializes in developing and financing water infrastructure projects, primarily seawater desalination and water treatment plants. These projects are implemented through innovative public-private partnerships in which private enterprise assumes the developmental and financial risks. For more information on Poseidon Water and the Huntington Beach desalination facility, visit www.hbfreshwater.com.