from the executive director
Californians brace for year of ‘mega-drought.’
Drought leaves dark cloud over California ranchers, growers.
Are winter droughts a new normal?
Novato residents asked to cut water use by 20 percent.
Santa Cruz panel urges rationing; city keeps reservoir closed.
The above is only a
partial tour of the
headlines from Brown
and Caldwell’s Water
News for just one day
in early February 2014.
On January 31, the
news media spotlight-ed
warnings of a “zero
allocation” to State Water Project contractors, the
record low Sierra snowpack and fishing bans on
several California rivers. Other articles have cit-ed
scientific evidence of ancient droughts lasting
200 years, which make the memorable droughts
of 1928-34 and 1987-92 seem like child’s play. We
don’t know what the rest of the year will bring,
but we do know that even if rainfall like 1992’s
“March Miracle” happens, there will be pain. Rec-reation
and agriculture will certainly suffer loss-es.
Water utilities will feel intense pressure from
higher costs and greatly reduced revenue, not to
mention deteriorating water quality, heightened
customer concerns and limited options to cope
with the impacts.
Southern Nevada is probably saying collec-tively,
“Welcome to our world.” The intensity
of drought in California is surely matched by
drought’s fourteen-year persistence on the Col-orado
River, which finds the Southern Nevada
Water Authority pushing hard to complete a new
intake and tunnel to maintain the water supply
from Lake Mead. See Fall 2013 Source
The notion that a drought can open a “poli-cy
window” has become conventional wisdom
among water leaders. But have any real poli-cy
ideas evolved from the ménage of favorite
drought solutions that routinely emerge? Farm-ers
have their pet ideas, environmentalists have
theirs. Think tanks, independent policy mak-ers
and legislators push still others. Freeing up
federal and state funds for local projects could
be beneficial, if the projects have merit. Better
4 SOURCE spring 2014
Operations & Maintenance
Manufacturers Associates Council
Workforce Development Council
Standing Committee Chairs
Water For People
Drought in the Golden State:
Where’s the Silver Lining?
groundwater management, especially in areas of
overdrafted aquifers, is long overdue. Water con-servation
(long-term, not just drought response)
can and should go farther in many places. It is far
from certain, though, that legislation passed in
response to drought will provide real, long-term
benefits to AWWA members. As always, vigi-lance
and straightforward, honest communica-tion
with policymakers is essential at every level.
In this time of flux and uncertainty, CA-NV
AWWA will continue to offer training programs
and education, including drought-specific work-shops;
provide the knowledge resources water
planners and utility managers need and advocate
sensible policies that produce real results. And in
Monterey on June 24-26, 2014 we will showcase
new and innovative ideas in water procurement
and management at our inaugural Whole Water
In the meantime, take a close look at this issue
of Source, which features drought-response strat-egies
that have been implemented and are under
consideration among member agencies, and take
advantage of the following resources: Drought
Resource Community @ AWWA.org. Water Con-servation
Resource Community @ AWWA.org.
Water Conservation Communications Guide (CD
kit); Water Loss Control (water audit software).
AWWA’s Manuals of Practice M-60: Drought Pre-paredness
and Response: M-52: Water Conservation
Programs—A Planning Manual; M-36: Water Au-dits
and Loss Control Programs. And participate
in the Section’s Water Use Efficiency Practitioner
Workshops that are planned throughout the year:
Grade 3-April 8-9, November 5-6, West Sacra-mento
Training Center (WSTC); Grade 2-Sep-tember
10-11, Rancho Cucamonga Frontier Proj-ect
(FP), October 1-2, WSTC FP; Grade 1-May
27-28, WSTC, June 18-19 and December 3-4, FP.
Because if there is a silver lining in this current
drought, it’s likely to be a long way off.
Timothy Worley, Ph.D.
Executive Director, CA-NV Section AWWA